Top Ten Stories of 2005 - USU Van Crash Kills Nine

Top Ten Stories of 2005 - USU Van Crash Kills Nine

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Alex Cabrero ReportingFor the next ten days we're going to run down what we consider the top 10 stories of the year. Most of them, if not all, will probably be familiar to you. We begin with story number 10, a crash heard around the country.

It was a Utah State University van rollover in which eight students and their professor died. Even three months after the crash, it's still hard to comprehend it all. So much life, so much potential in life, wiped out just like that.

Stan Albrecht, Pres., Utah State University: "None of us have ever dealt with anything that even approaches this magnitude of tragedy."

Utah State University was supposed to be celebrating Ag Week the last week of September. Instead, they had to try and make sense of why eight students and a professor died. Their van rolled over on I-84 near Tremonton after they were coming back from a field trip.

"It's just so sad all those kids died."

"They were so young, and they're gone."

"This isn't a huge campus, so anytime something like this happens, it's pretty shocking."

Especially in the Agricultural Department where most students know each other. All those who died were only about a month into the program.

Bruce Miller, Utah State Ag. Professor: "This pretty much takes out the whole freshman class for that program."

Among those who died were Evan Parker, 45-years old and also the driver of the van, Steven Bair, Curt Madsen, Ryan McEntire, Bradley Wilcox, Justin Gunnell, Dusty Fuhrman, Jonathan Jorgensen, and Justin Huggins. The two who survived the crash are Jared Nelson and Robert Peterson.

Peterson was well enough to talk about a week later.

Robert Peterson, Crash Survivor: "Most of us had all been raised on small family farms and we just enjoyed that quality of life, and that's what we were longing after...."

Nine lives gone so fast, never to be forgotten.

Bruce Miller: "We'll do what we can to help families deal with it."

There is some controversy as to how fast the van was going and if any seatbelts were used. The Utah Highway Patrol says no seatbelts were used, but Peterson, a survivor, says he remembers some of the students had them on.

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