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11-year-old among 6 killed in fiery Utah crash



BY BRADY MCCOMBS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An 11-year-old girl was among six victims of a fiery, head-on collision that occurred during one of Utah's deadliest Fourth of July weekends in the past two decades, authorities said Monday.

The young Esmerelda Velasquez, of Salt Lake City, was in a minivan that struck a sports car while trying to pass another car, the Utah Highway Patrol said in a news release.

Three others from the minivan died. They were Samantha Blueeyes, 23; Michael Blueeyes, 22; and Alfreda Bowman, 28, all from Salt Lake City.

The two who died in the sports car were: Cody Farrabee, 22, of Queen Creek, Arizona; and Rheana Hazel, 23, of Las Vegas.

A seventh person, who was in the minivan, also is in very critical condition from Sunday's crash, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said. He is Travis Howland, 24, of Salt Lake City.

The wreck happened on U.S. Route 191 near Monticello, about 285 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The sports car caught fire, killing both occupants at the scene. Five people were in the minivan, and three of them died at the scene. One other victim died later at the hospital.

It came two days after another head-on collision involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 80 in northern Utah killed three members of a family.

All told, there were at least 11 confirmed traffic deaths in the state from Friday through Sunday of the holiday weekend, said Gary Mower, a research analyst for the Utah Highway Safety Office. Several other people remain in critical condition.

The deadliest July Fourth weekend since the state began keeping track 20 years ago was in 2008, when 12 people died over four days. Last year, 10 people died over five days, Mower said.

The rate of highway deaths around the Fourth of July ranks the highest of any of the holidays, with 1.4 fatalities per day over the past 10 years, Utah statistics show

Royce said this year's two major crashes should serve as a stark reminder that people need to drive more carefully.

Impairment is suspected in the I-80 crash, and a bad decision to try to pass another car with not enough room caused the US-91 collision, Royce said.

"If they would have been a little more patient," he said. "Both of these crashes were entirely avoidable."

In the I-80 crash, authorities say Paul Mumford, 36, of West Jordan, inexplicably turned around Friday night and drove the wrong way before colliding with an SUV driven by Jose Adame-Orozco, 36, of Farmington.

Three passengers in the SUV died at the scene: Adame-Orozco's girlfriend, Delphine John, 44, and her daughters, Deliah Ramirez, 18, and Anaya Orozco, 3.

Mumford has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, manslaughter and driving under the influence, court records show.

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hpycmpr155 July 08 2014 at 2:46 PM

No one is "a little more patient" nowadays..... If I am going 50 in a 55 mph zone 5 cars will pass me going uphill over a double yellow line.
There is no more patience or tolerance or forgiveness.. Everyone wants what they want and they want it NOW. Damn the consequences.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
7 replies
chrissf4529 July 08 2014 at 2:06 PM

Funny how the press makes a big deal about this ,yet all but ignores the 60,yes that's sixty, people shot in Chicago over the 4th of july weekend.As a note I cannot remember the fatality numbers.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
22 replies
Dude July 08 2014 at 3:50 PM

In 45 years of driving I've watched thousands of people drive like wackos just to get in front of one more car. I've seen maniacs weave in and out of traffic while speeding down the interstate, then pulled up behind them 15 minutes later on an exit ramp. People risk their lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of strangers just so they can get somewhere 3.2 minutes faster and do what? If you're going somewhere to try and save the world from imminent disaster, that would be a good reason to drive recklessly. But being in a hurry to get home from vacation or get to the game or get to work or anything less than saving the planet, SLOW DOWN! Darwin will get you.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
2 replies
ayyiyicaramba Dude July 08 2014 at 4:10 PM

Let me guess. You've spent all of your 45 years of driving on Florida's I-95 - the stretch in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties - No?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
belldon10 Dude July 08 2014 at 5:13 PM

I user to get mad at people who passed and cut in while we both could see a red light ahead. Now I just smile and say, See you at the light, or on a highway See you down the road.. If I do see them at the light or down the road I wave. Even if we're going to the same place, they will arrive 5 or 10min before me, but my nerves and blood pressure will be just fine. To the clowns on the road, Grow up.
As for getting somewhere before me, it will probalby be the cemetery, I just hope they don't take others with them.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Steve-a-rino July 08 2014 at 1:57 PM

Well, they're not gun-related deaths so it's ok. As long as we keep killing ourselves in acceptable ways we don't have a problem with it.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
wittlief July 08 2014 at 2:47 PM

as long as America
has cars going in opposite directions
at highway speeds
with nothing between them
but yellow paint
the carnage and death will continue.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
jake_chough wittlief July 08 2014 at 8:01 PM

is that a haiku ornaw

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jchowell3657 wittlief July 08 2014 at 8:26 PM

What do you propose, and how do you propose to pay for it?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bigjerkmatt July 08 2014 at 2:12 PM

Sounds like a bunch of mexican names.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
8 replies
debnaert July 08 2014 at 5:31 PM

Stupid driver..... killed all of these people needlessly. Impatient.... passed illegally on a yellow line couldn't see the sports car coming over the hill. STUPID!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
I LOVE YOU JENNY July 08 2014 at 4:18 PM

May they rest in peace!!!!!!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
michael July 08 2014 at 5:24 PM

All were females and in their twenties. Tragic accident, but I have seen young women driving so carelessly that this does not surprise me at all.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
southcott1 michael July 08 2014 at 6:36 PM

The drunk driver was a man in his 30's

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mbne26 michael July 09 2014 at 1:51 AM

there was a 3 year old and a 11 year old that died.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kenandshannon July 09 2014 at 2:24 PM

Utah drivers suck, I know in live in SLC. Mostly it's the Mexicans who come here generally don't have licenses to drive because they're to flippin stupid to pass the test but drive anyway. If you see a Mexican driving in SLC you should be afraid, very afraid!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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