AMERICAN FORK, Utah, Sept. 12, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Beloved social studies teacher Dylan Thornton never made it to class Tuesday at Saratoga Springs’ Vista Heights Middle School.
By noon, the reason for his absence was posted on Facebook:
“We wanted to make you aware of a tragedy that occurred this morning,” the post began, going on to explain Thornton had died in an auto accident on his way in.
” … We are deeply saddened by the news and our hearts and prayers are with his family and the school community.”
“Heartbreaking news,” said the first of more than 250 people to respond to the news throughout the day. “He was a wonderful teacher who was loved dearly by his students! Prayers for his family.”
“He was my son’s favorite teacher,” another poster said. “We are so so sad to hear about this. We love you, Mr. Thornton! God be with you.”
“I’m so shocked and heartbroken to hear this news!,” another said. “He was an amazing teacher who was absolutely loved. My heart is so heavy and my prayers go out to his wife and son!”
And a fourth called him by a nickname.
“I’ll miss ya coach Rudy!!! You were amazing!”
The accident happened at 7:52 a.m., according to information from the Utah Highway Patrol. At Interstate 15, near mile marker 278, a northbound flatbed glass truck came to a stop, but the Mitsubishi behind it failed to slow.
The Mitsubishi swerved slightly to the right, but not enough to avoid the collision. The car’s driver, 35-year-old Orem resident Thornton, suffered fatal injuries.
In all, seven vehicles were involved in the crash, but all other injuries were minor, according to UHP information, and four lanes of traffic were closed for multiple hours.
Thornton leaves behind a wife, Emily, and a baby boy, Cooper, who was adopted last year, according to a GoFundMe page:
“Our dear friend Dylan Thornton was in a fatal car accident this morning 9/12/2017. We are all completely shocked and deeply heartbroken with hearing this news. There is not one person Dylan met that he didn’t make laugh or smile and hold him dear to their hearts.
“We want to create this fund for his funeral and to ease any financial burden for his beautiful wife Emily and their precious son, Cooper and the rest of his family,” the account says, in part.
“Please help us lift this family up during this excruciating time.”
The GoFundMe page had raised $14,280, within the first five hours. To view the page, click here.