A fiery collision between two cars on Highway 191 north of Monticello resulted in the death of six travelers on Sunday, July 6.
The crash occurred on Peters Hill, near mile maker 81, around 2 p.m. A min-van with five passengers attempted to pass another car and immediately hit a southbound sports car.
The car burst into flames and went airborne before landing on an embankment below the highway. The van made a 180-degree turn after the crash, coming to a stop in the opposite lane.
Although emergency crews responded quickly to the scene, the violent nature of the crash resulted in five fatalities at the scene.
The passengers in the sports car died at the scene. They are Cody Richard Farabee, age 22, and Rheana Hazel, age 23, both of Queen Creek, AZ. Hazel was six months pregnant. They had been visiting family in the Moab area.
The occupants of the mini-van occupants were all from the Salt Lake Valley and had apparently been visiting family in New Mexico.
Those who died at the scene of the crash include driver Samantha Blueeyes, age 23; Alfreda Ann Bowman, age 28; and Esmeralda Velasquez, age 11.
Survivors from the van were transported to San Juan Hospital and then sent, via Life Flight Helicopter, to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, CO.
The sixth victim, Michael Aaron Blueeyes, age 22, died at the hospital. The seventh victim, Travis Lee Howland, age 24, remains in critical condition.
The wreckage of the car took quite some time to recover and caused traffic in both directions to come to a stop.
The Utah Highway Patrol was able to move traffic flow along, and eventually recover the wreckage.
Patrolmen believe that all in the vehicles were wearing seatbelts, and that alcohol was not involved.
A poor decision to pass and the speed of both vehicles appear to be the main causes of the collision
The car crash came after a busy Fourth of July weekend saw many visitors of San Juan County traveling home.
Summer holidays on Utah highways are historically deadly, as the highway patrol calls this period between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends the “100 Deadliest Days,” for Utah drivers.
Utah Highway Patrol Officers encouraged drivers to slow down, and not drive so aggressively. They state that the few minutes of time saved isn’t worth the risk of being involved in a collision like this one.