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Mother accepts degree for daughter killed in Phoenix freeway wrong-way crash

Cathy Hocking's two daughters, Karli and Kelsey Richardson, were killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 17 on April 14, 2017. (KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The mother of a Grand Canyon University student who was killed in a wrong-way crash on a Phoenix freeway accepted her daughter’s degree on Thursday.

“She graduated at age 20,” Cathy Hocking said of her late daughter, Karli Richardson. “She turned 20 on March 26 and she died 19 days later with a [bachelor’s degree]. I’m very proud of her.”

Karli and her sister, Kelsey Richardson, were killed April 14 when their car was hit by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 17. The driver of the other car was killed.

Hocking said dealing with her daughters’ deaths is tough but her faith is a big help.

“Karli and Kelsey did not live once. They are living forever,” she said. “They just beat their old mom to it.”

Karli Richardson had been planning on getting a masters in marketing. Her mom says her personality made everyone feel better.

“Everyone got cheated from that,” she said. “But I believe the Lord took [Karli and Kelsey] immediately because he knew they deserved no harm or pain. I had good kids … I’m not a grandmother, I didn’t have alcoholics, I didn’t have drug addicts. I had children everyone wanted to be near.”

Hocking also felt her daughters’ deaths have a higher purpose.

“God knew that because of who they were, and because of how they lived their lives for Him … if He took them, people would pay attention.”

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