Friends of couple killed in crash with streetcar says pair was expecting a baby

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SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — Police have identified a man and woman who suffered fatal injuries Saturday after a collision involving a car and a streetcar Friday night, and friends of the couple said they were expecting a baby.

South Salt Lake Police Department stated the pair killed in the crash are 36-year-old Jessalyn L. Heaton of Salt Lake City, who was driving the car. Raymond Benally, 33 of Salt Lake City, was the passenger who was killed.

According to Heaton's best friend, Monica Martinez, the couple was dating and expecting a baby.

"She couldn't really have kids, but she got pregnant, you know, so it's sad," Martinez said. "She was always looking to adoption too, because she thought she couldn't have kids."

Saturday’s press release identifying the victims did not provide further information about the events leading up to the collision, but simply stated “the crash is still under investigation.”

The crash occurred in the area of 400 East and 2200 South. There is a stop sign at the intersection where the crash occurred, but Jerilyn Toro, who lives nearby, said she and others in the neighborhood believe that isn’t enough. Toro said they believe there should be flashing lights or some other kind of warning to alert pedestrians and motorists the streetcar is coming.

“It’s so unfortunate that this had to come up, and hopefully now there’s going to be a change,” she said. “But a lot of requests have been made to the city and the planners of the S-Line to set up some sort of notification on 400 East that there is a trolley coming. ”

Linda Adams isn't surprised a deadly car crash took place at this crossing. However, she was surprised to find out one of the victims was a family friend, Jessalyn Heaton.

"The city was very forwarned when they were building it, when they were putting it in, we went to several meetings and told them somebody is going to be killed there," Adams said.

Benally family friend, Donna Giron, said no other family should have to go through what they are going through.

"I'm mad because this is what's going to happen again, and it's too bad our friend Raymond had to pay the price to get this awareness," Giron said. "I believe that they could have been saved if there was some type of warning sign, besides a stop sign, you know flashing lights, yield lights, arms."

FOX 13 observed six or seven vehicles going through the stop sign without stopping in just a few hours Saturday.

"Twenty-four hours before this accident happened, I ran the same stop sign," Adams said."I'm familiar with this area, I grew up here, I'm here a lot and I miss the stop sign myself driving just because it didn't reach out and grab me."

 

20 comments

  • capsaicinone

    Who builds a street car in the middle of an urban city and doesn’t put up crossing arms to prevent people from crossing? Are you KIDDING ME?!?! I used to live in Sugarhood. When the line went in a block away, I moved out. The line should have NEVER been built. It attracts the riffraff of society and disrupts traffic. They’d been trying for 30+ years to find funding for it. Only reason it was built… evil stimulus money provided by the federal government. You and I built it at a huge cost. Not only are we paying taxes on the initial sum, we’re paying taxes to service the debt that probably will never be paid off because the federal government hasn’t run a surplus since Clinton was in office. The jack—s that funded the project in the first place should be prosecuted. Just because you CAN borrow, doesn’t mean you should. The people responsible for skimping on the crossing arms that should have been built should be prosecuted too. All that free stimulus money and they couldn’t put some crossing arms to save lives in the middle of an urban city. Thanks Sugarhouse!

    • laytonian

      WHAT? If you can’t see a 25mph train coming WHILE YOU ARE STOPPED AT THAT STOP SIGN, you shouldn’t have a license.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Your illogical rant is about street cars Capsaicinone and the “riffraff of society” you say they attract. When you see a stop sign you are expected to obey it. People have been know to get killed for running stop signs …… or weren’t you aware of that?

  • Garland Carter

    If you watch this video, at the end the train just goes through the intersection without stopping. I’m sorry but the train should stop as well as the cars. The only reason a train should go through an intersection is if their are both crossing arms and flashing lights. This tragic accident could of been avoided if UTA would have crossing arms and blinking lights at every intersection it crosses. I hope the families sue UTA and things change. UTA thinks they are immune to responsibility, which they are not. UTA should take every precaution necessary to avoid any chance of an accident. They totally did not do that at this intersection. My heart goes out to the families of the victims in this accident including the driver of this Street Car. So, so sad.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      “Some of us learn from other people’s mistakes and the rest of us have to be other people.” – Zig Ziglar
      Maybe the driver of the car should have obeyed the stop sign.

    • Brandon Benally

      We need help protesting. sadly it costs my dads life to raise awareness. We are going to sue. I hope justice will be served.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        You can sue until you’re blue in the face. What you need is a jury that will find sympathy for a driver who ran a stop sign.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        By the way Benally, the way it works is that the UTA will file a claim against the driver’s insurance for for damages they cause to the streetcar when they run a red light.

  • laytonian

    This couple, each with a long criminal record, was speeding and ran the stop sign. Even IF there were lights and arms coming down, could they have stopped in time?

    • DivideByZero

      What does their past criminal record have anything to do with getting hit by a train?? What a weird thing to say.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        The car “had problems”? You mean the brakes didn’t work? I’d like to see a lawyer use that argument in court.

    • Jessalyn lil sister!

      What does their criminal record have to with anything? your just an insensitive person! Jessalyn was the up most sweetest, kindest person you will ever meet!

  • Grant

    I have zero sympathy for the driver. He was absolutely aware of the risk he was taking. Regardless of how many laws we pass or safety devices we put in place, we can’t prevent stupidity.

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