ST. GEORGE — The holiday weekend got off to a tragic start Friday on Utah's freeways.
Susan Clark, 53, and Steven Clark, 55, of Provo, were killed early Friday when a 40-foot-long motor home hauling a Jeep Wrangler crashed through one garage and into another that was connecting two condominiums, located at 296 E. 900 South, in St. George.
"When I opened the garage, there was a Jeep that didn't belong to me in the garage," said homeowner Tim Wiley. "It was all cloudy and dusty and stuff."
Wiley said the location of his home and its proximity to the freeway always worried him. He was in the bedroom of his home, about 10 feet from the point of impact, when the motor home crashed through his backyard, demolished a bathroom and passed right through his garage and into the duplex across the street.
No one inside either residence was injured, according to police.
It pretty much split the homes in two where the garages are at. There is an extensive amount of damage done to the vehicle and both homes.
–Joe Pastor, Utah Highway Patrol trooper
Susan Clark was driving the RV and her husband, Steven Clark, was sitting on a couch behind the driver's seat when a front tire blew about 5:45 a.m., causing the oversize vehicle and trailer to veer off I-15 and into the neighborhood below, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
The couple's 22-year-old son Austin was asleep on a couch near the front of the motor home. He woke when he heard what sounded like a popping tire. He said he believes his mother made a split-second decision that saved their lives.
"I think she had the choice to swerve and roll it and possibly kill us all, or run it into what she did," he said.
There were eight additional passengers in the motor home at the time of the crash, including Austin and seven females, ages 3, 5, 13, 15, 18, 23 and 23. Police have not released the conditions of the additional passengers, but they were all taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.
UHP trooper Joe Pastor said vehicles have accidentally come off the freeway in the same location before, but "it isn't the norm." He said the RV traveled approximately 300 feet, through a barrier fence, down a dirt embankment, across a frontage road, through one home and into the other, without overturning.
"It pretty much split the homes in two where the garages are at," Pastor said. "There is an extensive amount of damage done to the vehicle and both homes."
There is going to be a gaping hole. It's going to take some time.
–Clark's LDS Bishop
He said the motor home also struck two parked vehicles on its destructive path. Debris filled the interior of the RV and injured passengers were retrieved through a large side window.
Neighbors and friends placed hearts and ribbons in the front yard of the Clarks Provo home. The couple was active in their community and church. Steve served as clerk in the LDS Pleasant View 1st Ward, while Susan served as president of the Young Women.
"There is going to be a gaping hole," said the Clark's LDS bishop. "It's going to take some time."
Although the family said their hearts are broken at the loss of their parents, they believe many miracles took place.
"The fact that she was willing to kill herself and save the rest of us," Austin said. "She is with my father now."
The family was headed to Disneyland for Memorial Day weekend.
Contributing: Ashley Kewish
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