3 killed in rollover crash on I-15

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SANTAQUIN -- A rollover crash on Interstate 15 in Utah County killed three people, including two children.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers say a family from Provo was likely coming home from a trip early Wednesday morning. A neighbor says they were coming back from California after visiting with family. Their SUV was traveling north on I-15 around 2:30 a.m. in the Santaquin area when it drifted into another lane.

"What we believe is he (the driver) probably fell asleep, went to the rumble strips -- which probably caused him to get right, re-oriented, and then he probably turned hard to the left and went down through the median," said UHP Lt. Al Christianson.

When the vehicle hit the median, it rolled. It then continued to roll through southbound traffic on I-15 and down the embankment, where it came to a stop upside down on a frontage road.

"From where it started to where it landed right here, I haven't walked it out but I would think it's about 300 yards," Christianson said.

Troopers say 4-year-old Stephanie Ramirez Munoz, who was in a booster seat; 11-year-old Helen Giselle Munoz, who was a passenger in the front seat; and their father, 32-year-old Edgar Ramirez, who was driving, were killed in the wreck.

A 1-year-old baby in a car seat, Eliana Ramirez, received minor injuries. The mother of the family, 32-year-old Helen Conception Ramirez, and 6-year-old Josefina Isabel Ramirez Munoz were ejected from the vehicle during the crash but survived. They were taken to Mountain View Hospital with serious injuries. The 6-year-old was then flown to Primary Children's Medical Center.

"As it was rolling, the people who were unsecured were coming out of the vehicle -- suit cases, everything they were carrying with them. It pretty much cleaned out the entire vehicle," Christianson said.

Mirna Herrera instantly recognized the smashed SUV and the pink suitcase strung across the scene of the accident.

"I couldn't believe it," said Herrera, who lives above the family of six who were inside that SUV.

"They were so lovely. They loved my children," she said.

Troopers believe fatigue and possibly speed may have been factors in the crash. A witness told investigators that the SUV passed them going at least 75 miles per hour.

Herrera says it's a loss she can't begin to understand.

"He was a great dad, a good neighbor," she said. "Helen alone with two girls, and I don't know what. I can't think about my two children without them."


Story compiled with information from Shara Park, Randall Jeppesen and Sandra Yi.


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