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Police identify woman killed in fiery downtown wreck

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman was killed Thursday morning when a pickup truck collided with her car in the intersection of 500 South and 300 East in Salt Lake City. Her vehicle then burst into flames.

Police have identified the victim as 26-year-old Julie Jorgenson.

Salt Lake City police say the accident happened around 5:15 a.m. Upon impact, the two vehicles traveled through the intersection and came to rest on the other side.

When crews arrived, the woman's car was engulfed in flames. They put out the fire and discovered Jorgenson deceased inside the vehicle.

Police say they don't yet know whether Jorgenson died from injuries sustained in the crash or from the fire.

People who came across the accident say they wanted to help but there wasn't much they could do. Breanne and Andrew Johnson say they heard a boom as they were heading to work.

"From about four blocks away we saw an explosion," Andrew Johnson said.

Breanne Johnson described it as a big fireball that went up into the air. When they reached the crash site they called 911.

"I ran over to the car first, which was completely engulfed at the moment, and tried to see anyone ... and we couldn't," Breanne Johnson said. "We tried to scream out for anybody."

"You couldn't really see anyone in the car because the flames were so thick," said Andrew.

The two then went over to check on the driver of the white truck.

"It was kind of strange. The windows were completely iced over. You couldn't see into them, which means I don't know why he was driving because you probably couldn't see out," Breanne Johnson said.

They said the man had a jacket on but no shirt and was badly cut by broken glass. Paramedics arrived shortly after and took him to the hospital.

The Johnsons say there were a few other people who came out to see if they could help. One woman told them she saw the crash happen.

"All she said was that a car was going, it seemed a hundred miles an hour and hit the other one," Breanne Johnson said.

"It's just a sad scenario," she added, "and we really feel sorry for the family that has lost a loved one."

Salt Lake City police investigators have kept the intersection closed as they try to put the pieces together as to exactly what happened. They say there is no clear indication that drugs or alcohol were involved.

They also say the cold weather has frozen their equipment, hindering the investigation.

"This is definitely longer than we had hoped," said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Shawn Josephson. "It's just one of those circumstances where the investigation is important and we want to make sure we don't miss anything."

This crash was just one of several Thursday morning. There have been six others throughout the city, which police say is unusual for one morning.


Story written with contributions from Randall Jeppesen, Anne Forester and the DMC News Division.


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