remembered as being upbeat, generous
A mom, who inspired many, loses life because of a police chase
to capture a man driving a stolen car.
By Brian Hazle
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 21, 2004
NANCEE E. LEWIS /
Kevin Soper, husband of Linda
Carson Soper, spends much of his time these days with
his dog Jazzy. His wife was killed Aug. 10 when a man in
a stolen car fleeing police hit her vehicle.
Those who knew Linda Carson Soper said she wasn't just a friend,
she was a godsend.
The 47-year-old El Cajon native lived at a
residential motel on El Cajon Boulevard and often struggled to
find steady work. Still, Carson remained upbeat and was quick to
share food, clothes, money or just a caring smile with anyone
who needed it, her friends and family said.
She was killed Aug. 10 when a man in a stolen
car fleeing police sped through a red light and slammed
broadside into her car at 60 mph at Main Street and Johnson
Avenue, police and witnesses said.
Carson's husband, Kevin Soper, was among the
seven people injured in the resulting pileup.
On Tuesday, authorities charged Paul John
Taitague, 30, of San Diego with vehicular manslaughter, evading
police, reckless driving and possession of stolen property. He
pleaded not guilty.
When reached this week, Soper seemed unconcerned
about the court hearing and had little to say about the
accident. His focus, he said, was on memories of his late wife,
especially her smile.
"I'm trying not to be too upset because she
was such a positive person," he said.
Soper and Carson were married in 2001, about six
months after they met at a residential care facility for the
elderly where they both worked. Carson was the activity
coordinator. Soper, a maintenance worker.
Carson's friends and former co-workers
remembered her as a tireless champion of the less-fortunate
whose only fault may have been that she spent too much time
doing things for others.
NANCEE E. LEWIS / Union-Tribune
Carson and Soper were married in
2001, about six months after they met at a residential
care facility for the elderly where they both worked.
Carson was the activity coordinator. Soper, a maintenance
"There will never be another woman like
her. I called her, 'Mom,'" said Bobby Bachoua, who with his
wife, Sherry Johnson, manages the Bel Air Motel where Carson
lived. "It was like the spirit of God shined right through
Sherry Johnson's life was falling to pieces when
Carson and Soper moved into the Bel Air Motel about a year ago.
Johnson was unemployed. Illiterate. Her teeth were falling out.
And she was broke.
She couldn't read a job application, let alone
the forms to enroll in a state-sponsored medical program that
would pay for dentures.
Carson helped her new neighbor get the
insurance, but perhaps more importantly, encouraged her to learn
to read and helped her land a job as the live-in manager at the
motel, Johnson said.
"She inspired us here to help each
other," she said.
Carson spent much of the 1980s working as a
teaching aide for special education classes in the Grossmont
Union High School District, according to her mother, Lavina
Until about six months ago, Carson had worked
with dependent adults at Carol's Residential Care in El Cajon,
where she quickly became a trusted friend to many of the
"I don't think we ever saw her frown,"
former co-worker Lois Leaman said. "Even when she had
problems, she was strictly business when she was here."
Carson's attitude and sense of humor endeared
her to many of the residents, including Eileen Armstrong, who
said she has lived at the home for about four years.
Even the grumpy residents who spent most of
their days alone seemed drawn to Carson's sense of humor and
frequent smiles, Armstrong said.
"She was always concerned about people and
she could talk to anybody," Armstrong said. "When I
was down in the dumps, she was always there for me," Armstrong said.
Carson's daughter, Melissa Collins, 19, said she
remembered her mother singing the Doris Day standard "Que
Sera, Sera," to her as a little girl.
"It means whatever will be, will be and
that how she lived her life," Collins said. "She never
had a lot, but she didn't need it to be happy.'' Carson also had
two sons, Thomas Collins, 17, and Joshua Collins, 20.