Rebeka Elkes, who works at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, woke to discover her beloved Fiesta had been taken from outside her Shawbirch home late on Tuesday evening.
At the time the 28-year-old was devastated and furious at the prospect of being without vital transport to and from work.
But the situation took an even darker turn after police informed her that her car had been recovered, but it had been involved in a "very serious incident".
It emerged that the car had been involved in a major crash on the Norton Road and Wolverhampton Road, in Pelsall, shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
Four people had been travelling in the stolen vehicle when it crashed with a VW Golf – with one of the passengers in the Fiesta, a 21-year-old man, dying at the scene.
Two other passengers, in their late teens and early 20s, were injured, while the driver ran from the scene.
Two men in their 30s from the Golf were also treated in hospital for minor injuries.
Harrowing photos have shown the wreckage at the scene of the crash, and Miss Elkes spoke of her sadness and shock at discovering it had been her car involved in the incident.
She said: "It really upset me. Mainly because it was my car that was responsible for the death of someone. I know it is not my fault but you still feel awful."
The severity of the situation had become clear after Miss Elkes' conversation with police when she saw news reports showing the scene of the crash.
The car had been taken while she slept following a 12-hour shift at the hospital, in her role as a patient flow co-ordinator at the busy Accident and Emergency unit.
She said: "I was contacted by the police who initially told me my car had been recovered but was at a garage under forensic investigation so I thought it would be fine.
"Then a couple of hours later I had a call from another police officer saying it had been involved in a very serious incident."
She added: "It was not until I got off the phone that it started to sink in. It is just really shocking."
It has been the second incident involving the car in recent weeks with someone throwing paint over it in March, requiring around £4,500 of repair work.
West Midlands Police are investigating the incident and Sergeant Julie Lyman, from the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, has appealed for people with information to come forward.
She also urged the driver to hand themselves in.
She said: “We are trying to piece together the circumstances in which this young man has lost his life and I would ask anyone with information to contact us.
“I would also ask the driver of the Fiesta to do the right thing and hand himself in so that we can hear from him how this crash happened.”
The road remained closed for several hours while collision reconstruction was carried out.
Anyone with information can e-mail FL_COLLISION_INVEST@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk or contact West Midlands Police via live chat on the force's website.
People can also ring 101 or Crimstoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log 4892 of 23/6.