TOOELE — Church was a big part of Miranda Anderson's life. The last picture her aunt took of her on Easter Sunday shows the 7-year-old singing at church.
"She was well loved and she's well missed and we're going to always remember her," said Jeff Sinner, Miranda's uncle.
She was on an ATV last month when it veered off a road and into some trees. Miranda was wearing a helmet, but a low-hanging branch ruptured an artery in her neck, killing her.
Chad Tharp, a friend of Miranda's mother, was on the vehicle with the girl. Sinner said Tharp may have let Miranda drive the ATV. Prosecutors have said that at the time, Tharp's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
However, Sinner said the family does not hold anything against Tharp but his fate should be left up to a judge.
Tharp has been charged with automobile homicide, a third-degree felony, as well as reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor, in 3rd District Court.
"(Chad Tharp) loved Miranda just like the family pretty much," he said.
Miranda's death has been difficult for her parents, especially for her father who heard the crash and carried Miranda down the canyon for help, Sinner said.
"He's very quiet right now. He's just broken up because he was there and it's harder on him," Sinner said.
He hopes Miranda's death will serve as a wake-up call about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"Even though we're not going to have Miranda anymore, she's still here in spirit, so to say, and we know that a lot of people are going to react from this," Sinner said.
Tooele county prosecutors say Tharp gave conflicting stories about the crash. One was that that he let Miranda drive the ATV and another that the throttle got stuck. Tharp has been issued a summons to appear in court on July 8.
We tried to contact him and he did not respond.