Update: 6 people killed, 1 critical after head-on collision in San Juan County

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SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah – Officials said six people are dead after two vehicles collided head on in San Juan County Sunday.

Utah Highway Patrol officials said a northbound van was trying to pass another vehicle when it struck a southbound car head-on; the crash was on US-191 at milepost 81 and reports began to come in at about 3:22 p.m.

Officials said there were five people inside the van, four have died

The other passenger in the van suffered critical injuries.

There were two occupants in the car and they were both killed.

A small fire that broke out in the area of the crash was contained.

Lt. Scott Robertson of the Utah Highway Patrol said the individuals in the van are part of the same family.

He said there were four adults and one juvenile in the van: two males and three females.

Robertson said the driver of the van was killed but said they are waiting to notify family members before releasing futher details about the victims’ identities.

Robertson said they believe that all of those involved in the crash were wearing seat belts, but he said the juvenile in the van had her lap belt on but had put her shoulder strap behind her back.

He said that is a “critical mistake” that may have contributed to her death.

Robertson said the occupants of the van appear to be from the Salt Lake Valley.

He said the passenger car is registered in Arizona and they believe the occupants were returning to their home after the holiday weekend.

Robertson said people should be careful when passing other cars, even if they are in a passing zone, as was the case in this crash.

“We just encourage people to slow down, to not be as aggressive, to properly restrain those in your vehicle, especially the children,” he said. “…The minute or two that you save trying to pass a vehicle just is not worth what we’ve gone through today and what these families will go through for the rest of their life.”

Officials said the accident occurred in an area with limited or no cell phone coverage. The scene had been cleared by the time FOX 13 News crews arrived, but photos show the aftermath of the accident–see the gallery below.

This is at least the second vehicle accident with multiple fatalities to occur during the Fourth of July weekend. Officials said that June was the deadliest month on Utah roadways so far this year, and they said so far it appears 2014 will see more fatalities on Utah roads than there were in 2013. Officials say the time between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends is statistically the “100 Deadliest Days” on Utah roads.

13 comments

  • Marlene Westlund

    So tragic, my prayer go out to all involved. Also, most of us have no clue where what mile posts are, would you please give a point of reference we can understand?

  • Jonas

    There are lots of maps online with mile markers or atlases that people can use to identify locations.

  • Lavinia

    My sincere condolences to both of the families whom have lost loved one’s in this tragic accident. My prayers are with the families for comfort. Although not easy but my heartfelt sympathy. May God grant comfort and all finances to be met.

  • Kris

    The two people in the vehicle from Arizona were beautiful, caring, bright young people that were expecting a baby girl in September. My heart is so broken for the loss of my dear friend. I hope this helps people think twice when passing other vehicles… Is it really worth it?

  • Anthony

    I am a friend of the man who was killed in the car. He was with his fiance and she was 7 months pregnant (even though the news fails to mention that) I am so hurt right now for the loss of a friend of mine and everyone involved.

      • Anthony

        Lee, I am so sorry for your loss. I never met her but her and your family have been in my family’s prayers

      • Erica

        Lee – I am so incredibly sorry for you loss. Your grandaughter is such an amazing woman. She had been my son’s teacher here in Arizona and my son has always absolutely adored her. We just got the news from the school director. I am lifting you all in prayer.

  • Fantaztik Mamalimai

    Ive seen heaps and heaps of Utah people,California etc driving so fast and tailgating a lot.They are so much in a hurry that I don,t understand why.When I came home Sunday the 6th from my mini 4 days vacation to south eastern Utah I notice so many people driving way more than the speed limit.Even in the small towns like Panguich,I was going at 60 and 5 cars racing each other to beat the merger lane.The limit is 60.I thought to my self what,s the hurry?Even the semi trucks are in a hurry.They go on to the fast lane to pass but the traffic was busy.I maintain my speed and keep my distance at about 3 car length.I set my speed at cruise control all the time.I always use my mind to anticipate another car is going to cut me off at any time without signalling .I feel so sad for those who lost their lives like that.It,s not fair.If the speed is 80 the limit,is it not fast already?I am from NZ and live here in Utah fro 29 years and Ive seen the Utah drivers drive without thinking.In considered and disrespectful .A pregnant women and other young lives was taken away in such a way that it,s not easy to forget.My heart felt so bad for those people and their families.It,s safe on the Utah roads any more and many other roads.God bless those families.

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