Six people were killed and three were seriously injured in a two-car, high speed crash that happened at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning near the Great Salt Lake State Park. A Dodge Stratus with seven passengers was heading southeast on State Road 202 when the driver, 35-year-old Veronica Martinez, attempted a left hand turn onto State Road 201. As the Stratus entered the intersection, it was broadsided by a westbound Mercury Sable driven by 34-year-old Jared Perry.
Six of the seven people in the Stratus were killed. Maritnez and front seat passenger, 29-year-old Ricardo Ramirez were killed but not thrown from the vehicle. Backseat passengers, 15-year-old Mercedes Martinez and 6-year-old Veronica Ramirez, were ejected and killed. Also killed were 5-year-old Isabel Ramirez and 15-year-old Megan Foot. The only survivor from the stratus is 4-year-old Ricardo Ramirez, but he was seriously injured. The two front seat passengers were belted but the other five were not.
Jared Perry was traveling with his 9-year-old son, Dwayne Perry, at the time of the accident. Both were seriously injured and were life-flighted to the University of Utah Hospital. Jared Perry was wearing a seat belt but it is unclear whether Dwayne was – neither was thrown from their vehicle.
The accident remains under investigation by the Utah Highway Patrol. Meanwhile, one thing is already crystal clear – seat belts are no guarantee that one will survive a crash but their use dramatically reduces the risk of serious injury and death. It is imperative that everyone use seat belts in every vehicle, every time.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.