SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An 11-year-old girl was among six victims of a fiery, head-on collision that occurred during one of Utah's deadliest Fourth of July weekends in the past two decades, authorities said Monday.
The young Esmerelda Velasquez, of Salt Lake City, was in a minivan that struck a sports car while trying to pass another car, the Utah Highway Patrol said in a news release.
Three others from the minivan died. They were Samantha Blueeyes, 23; Michael Blueeyes, 22; and Alfreda Bowman, 28, all from Salt Lake City.
The two who died in the sports car were: Cody Farrabee, 22, of Queen Creek, Arizona; and Rheana Hazel, 23, of Las Vegas.
A seventh person, who was in the minivan, also is in very critical condition from Sunday's crash, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said. He is Travis Howland, 24, of Salt Lake City.
The wreck happened on U.S. Route 191 near Monticello, about 285 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The sports car caught fire, killing both occupants at the scene. Five people were in the minivan, and three of them died at the scene. One other victim died later at the hospital.
It came two days after another head-on collision involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 80 in northern Utah killed three members of a family.
All told, there were at least 11 confirmed traffic deaths in the state from Friday through Sunday of the holiday weekend, said Gary Mower, a research analyst for the Utah Highway Safety Office. Several other people remain in critical condition.