SALT LAKE CITY — The 3-month-old boy who was on life support after a car crash in the Murray area Friday evening died from his injuries Saturday.
Doctors at Primary Children's Hospital pronounced Dayton Cook dead at 3:47 p.m., but his parents are keeping him on life support so they can donate his organs.
Keelie and Alex Cook spoke with KSL News shortly after their son's death. They only had three months with their son and know just how precious life is.
"It doesn't matter the age — if they're 33, 40, it doesn't matter — always tell them you love them," Keelie Cook said.
The family was running errands Friday in the area of 4200 South and State Street when their lives changed in an instant. Keelie Cook was in the driver's seat.
"I remember looking in my rearview mirror and seeing this white Jeep truck come flying," she said.
There was no time for her to react, she said, that white RAV4 slammed into the back of her vehicle.
"We started spinning out of control, and that's all I really remember until we stopped," she said.
She and Alex were hurt. Dayton, who was in a car seat in the back, was critically injured.
"He hit us so hard that our backseat was basically smushed into our front seat, and so (Dayton's) car seat lifted up and was sitting where our shoulders would be; but he was upside down."
"He hit us so hard that our backseat was basically smushed into our front seat, and so (Dayton's) car seat lifted up and was sitting where our shoulders would be; but he was upside down," Keelie Cook said.
The impact caused a chain reaction involving three other vehicles. The driver of the RAV4 who hit the Cooks went through a barrier and landed in Big Cottonwood Creek. Unified police are investigating the cause but say the 72-year-old man may have had a medical emergency going on at the time, possibly a seizure.
Witnesses told police the RAV4 had been driving erratically and at a high rate of speed. The Cooks believe the driver shouldn't have been on the road.
"I'd like the truth and some answers," Keelie Cook said. "It's not going to heal anything, but it's still nice to have answers."
For now, she and her husband hold on to memories of their little boy, who, through organ donation, will give other children the gift of life.
"He couldn't go to college and become a doctor, so he's helping people in the way he can the best," Keelie Cook said.
The driver of the RAV4 who hit the Cooks was taken to the hospital with chest and back injuries. His name was not released Saturday.
Family and friends of the Cooks plan to set up a donation account to help pay for Dayton's medical bills and funeral costs. The "Keelie and Alex Cook" account will be opened Monday at Mountain America Credit Union for anyone who would like to donate*.
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.