Ten Utah State University students and a USU instructor were involved in a fatal van accident yesterday at on Interstate 84, west of Tremonton. The accident occurred at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Eight of the eleven people have passed away as a result of the accident.
The students were taking a field trip to Greenline Implements in Tremonton, Utah, as part of Agriculture Week at the university. Eyewitness Kyle Holden, an employee of Greenline Implements, said that they were “about halfway back” from the plant when “the van was in the fast line, then swerved into the slow lane… I just happened to look back, and made eye contact with Evan… I saw smoke, and that’s when I realized something was wrong.”
Holden suspects that there was a malfunction involved with one of the wheels.
After the accident occurred, Holden said that he got out of his car and “tried to stabilize anybody who needed help.” He said he got to Evan Parker, the instructor who was driving the van, “but his head was crushed.”
It is very likely that neither Parker nor the passengers were wearing seatbelts, said Lieutenant Jason Jensen, who said that the van was also going 95-100 miles per hour when the accident occurred.
“In my 15 years of experience, you don’t get thrown out of a vehicle like that when you’re wearing a seatbelt,” said Jensen.
Jensen was the fourth vehicle to arrive on the scene, at about 4:10 P.M.
“I did not personally work on anybody who was alive,” Jensen said.
Names of four who passed away were publicly released: Parker, a 45-year old man; and three students, Steven Bair, 24 years of age; and Curt Madsen and Brad Wilcox, who were pronounced dead at the scene.
Meanwhile, names of two of the survivors are Robert Petersen and Jared Nelson, both who are currently at Ogden Regional Hospital. Nelson was initially life-flighted to Brigham City before getting tranferred to Ogden.
Though it is suspected that the passengers were not wearing seatbelts, alchohol was likely not involved, said Noel Cockett, Dean of the College of Agriculture.
“Evan (the driver) is not the type to allow alchohol… I highly doubt alchohol was involved,” she said.Cockett said that the regularily scheduled events for the rest of the week had been canceled.
"Field trips happen two or three times per day during (Agriculture Week). This is an agricultural school... it's just ironic," Cockett said.
"Evan had told me that this is the finest group of students that he had yet to work with," she continued.