Deadly crash may have been intentional suicide

by Buckley Jensen

Staff writer

A fatal accident seven miles north of Monticello is being called an intentional suicide by local law enforcement. The accident occurred about seven miles north of Monticello at the top of Peters Hill.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, a southbound Toyota Van driven by a young man from Olympia, WA traveling at high speed crossed a double yellow line and smashed head on into a northbound Swift 18-wheeler. The truck pushed the van into another on-coming pickup truck. Flying debris damaged two other vehicles caught in the maelstrom.

The debris field stretched for nearly 600 feet down the highway, until the big truck finally jack knifed, blocking the northbound lane of Highway 191.

Major damage was done to the pickup and to the Swift Truck. The Toyota Van literally disintegrated, killing the occupant. Several other people, including the truck driver, suffered non life-threatening injuries.

According to Sanford Randall of the Utah Highway Patrol, all the evidence points to a successful suicide attempt. The deceased and his father had been camping at Cottonwood south of Blanding. According to his father, the young man had been depressed and suicidal and had been having problems for some time. When the father went to gather firewood, the boy jumped in the van and drove away. His father notified law enforcement, and Trooper Randall said UHP was looking for this young man at the time of the accident.

The investigation showed that the deceased slit both his wrists earlier in the day, but not deep enough to cause death.

A large number of Monticello police, firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technicians were called to the scene and worked to mitigate traffic delays. However traffic backed up for more than a mile at times during the investigation. About 4:30, the highway was completely closed for an hour with delays in both directions until after 9 p.m. Sunday night.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday