Wasatch Co. Sheriff urges support of families after ‘tragic deaths’ of 5 young people within week

Ambulance. File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah, June 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office is thanking first responders for their efforts and asking community members to rally around families after the accidental deaths of five young residents within the period of one week.

“With deep sadness, we recognize the tragic deaths of five individuals, the majority of them teenagers or young adults, in the last week,” the statement says.

“On June 3rd, Brooklyn Schneider, a 12-year-old girl who was helping her family move from their home in Heber City to a residence in Kamas, sustained serious injuries in a moving accident. Brooklyn died as a result of the injuries. Brooklyn attended Timpanogos Middle School in Heber City.

“On June 7th, Amy Nelson from Heber City was traveling on SR-189 toward Heber City when her vehicle was struck from behind and sent into on-coming traffic. Mrs. Nelson’s vehicle collided with a vehicle occupied by Payton Caldwell and Emma Call, both 18 year old girls who recently graduated from Wasatch High School and were preparing for college. Through no fault of their own, Amy, Payton, and Emma were tragically killed in the accident.

“On June 11th, Michael Rivera-Vazquez (20 years of age) of Heber City was traveling eastbound on SR-40 and approaching Heber when his vehicle crossed the center lane into on-coming traffic. Regrettably, Michael died of injuries sustained in the accident.”

The statement said Wasatch County is mourning the losses.

“We express our love and respect for the victims of these tragic accidents, as well as the families, friends, and everyone involved in any way. Life is precious, and losing each of these wonderful people, especially given their happiness, kindness, and youth is so heartbreaking for their families and the entire community.

“We recently started summer break. The regular school year is completed and our young people are out in the community working and playing. We want our young people and everyone to be safe, and encourage them to make safety a top priority, especially as they travel and recreate.

“I’ve asked the deputies and area law enforcement to strictly enforce laws related to impaired driving, distracted driving, seat belt and safety restraints, and other traffic laws. So, please be understanding as they do their jobs enforcing these laws.

“We thank all of our first responders for the work they do, particularly the difficult work of protecting and serving our community when disasters and tragedies occur. Many traffic accidents, medical calls, fires, and other emergencies are tough to work-through both on-scene and long afterward. However, our first responders resolve each emergency with courage and kindness, and genuinely care about each of you as community members.”

The WCSO notice quoted Brooklyn Schneider’s obituary, which said “one of the best ways to honor loved ones’ who have gone before us is to keep their memories close to heart and to care for and love one another.”

The statement, signed by Sheriff Jared W. Rigby, urged community members to support families that have lost loved ones.

“We encourage youth, education and faith-based groups, businesses, and the entire to community to find ways to work together to care for these families and to protect and keep young people safe in our community.”


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