FARR WEST, Utah (KUTV) — It was to be a joyous celebration, so important it drew family members from outside Utah, even one who flew in from 5,000 miles away, but the gathering turned tragic early Wednesday morning, when a car was struck by a semi on northbound I-15 in Weber County—killing three people.
A 19-year old-man was driving.
Officials with the Utah Highway Patrol said the car hit a deer, moved into the right lane, slowed or stopped and for some reason had its lights off. As it sat on the road, it was struck by a semi at full speed.
MORE: Semi-truck plows into car stopped on I-15 with lights off, leaving 3 dead, 2 in hospital
“Where he (the semi driver) comes up over the hill, you can’t see anything, obviously. It’s dark outside... no lights on the vehicle, He had no idea it was even there until he hit it,” said Lt. Justin Cheney.
The young driver and his girlfriend - both in the front seat - were badly hurt.
The driver’s grandfather, grandmother—both from Oklahoma—and a cousin from the Marshall Islands were in the backseat. All three died.
“They were getting together for a family event,” Cheney said.
He said it was his understanding the family was in town for the driver's high school graduation.
Cheney said the impact at the scene was difficult for emergency responders.
“Troopers see death all the time,” said Cheney. “Seeing three in one crash is not the norm. It takes an emotional toll.”
The young driver was recovering, he said, and may be released from the hospital soon.
His girlfriend—at last word—was in serious condition.
UHP officials expected to release names of the victims Thursday.
Cheney said the semi driver was not hurt, but shaken up.