As Kingston wife charged in child's death, former clan members speak out
(KUTV) Weeks after a Kingston polygamist clan member was charged in the death of her child, former members of that group are speaking out about what they say is a much bigger problem.
Carolyn Hughes, 24, was charged in April with negligent homicide in a September 2015 crash in which her three-year-old daughter, Paisley, was killed.
Hughes was the driver of a SUV that was carrying eight children, none of whom were wearing seat belts. As the SUV turned off of Redwood Road near 2700 South in West Valley City, another vehicle collided with it, killing the child.
Hughes, sources tell 2News, is one of the wives of Joe Kingston of the Kingston polygamist clan.
Former clan members say the child's death - while tragic - is not surprising.
"It is dumb luck that that hasn't happened more and isn't happening still," said Emily Tucker, who left the group in 2001. She said children frequently ride around sitting on laps and holding babies in their arms.
Another former clan member, who asked 2News not to use her name, echoed that.
"We never wore seat belts," she said, remembering once when "we fit seven or eight kids in a little Toyota Corolla car."
Sometimes, the former member said, "we would have them in the trunk."
Tucker saw that, too.
"You can't expect invincibility," she said.
Yet, according to Tucker, invincibility is exactly what's being taught at church by the Kingston leaders.
"The Lord is protecting you, and you have a shield, and as long as you're living right nothing bad will happen," said Tucker. "And then something bad happens."
Both former clan members said they want to speak out now because they know other children are still at risk.
"If the husbands would step up and protect their kids, that would be another story," said Tucker. "But nothing's going to change until that happens. They're still going to cram kids in the car."
2News attempted to reach Carolyn Hughes's listed attorney, Ryan Kingston, but multiple calls to him Tuesday went unanswered.
Hughes was cited in 2014 for failing to secure children in child restraints while she was driving. A check of court records also shows a dozen known Kingston members have also been cited in the past for not buckling up their children.