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SALT LAKE CITY — A speeding car may have been responsible for the death of a Richfield native who was serving an LDS mission in Sweden.
Mason Lewis Bailey, 19, was struck by a car shortly before 9:30 p.m. Sunday, in the intersection of Narvavägen (Narva Road) and Backvägen (Back Road), according to VLT, a newspaper in Vasteras. Vasteras is a little more than an hour's drive out of Stockholm.
Witnesses said Bailey and his companion were walking in a crosswalk at Narva Road when a car came speeding down the road from the north, the VLT reported. Bailey ran out of the crosswalk, and his companion ran into the crosswalk to dodge the car.
The 21-year-old driver swerved the vehicle toward Bailey, who was hit and seriously injured, the newspaper reported. One bystander performed CPR until emergency personnel arrived and took over. Bailey was then taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he later died.
Police detained the driver of the car for questioning and testing. The newspaper reported that officials on Sunday night suspected that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and took blood samples. Investigators, however, had not yet determined whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident.
The driver remained in custody Monday for investigation of involuntary manslaughter, according to the VLT.
Bailey and his companion were on their way back from an appointment at the end of their day when Bailey was hit, according to an email from Thomas Otnes, a member of the Vasteras Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The missionaries were on their way to their apartment in Hammarby, in Vasteras, the VLT reported.
People drive like idiots and do not care at all about the 40 kilometers an hour signs.
–Patrik Nordin, Sweden resident
Residents in the area told the newspaper that speeding cars are common on Narva Road. Goran Eriksson and Patrik Nordin said an accident like this was bound to happen sooner or later. A traffic camera could catch at least 20 people speeding in an hour, they said.
“People drive like idiots and do not care at all about the 40 kilometers an hour signs," Nordin said to the VLT in Swedish.
On Monday, the LDS congregation in Vasteras held an open house for their grieving members. Bailey had been serving in the area for seven months.
“We are of course saddened by what has happened and we wish he got to be left on Earth. … We believe in eternal life, and now he may continue to operate on the other side with our Heavenly Father,” Otnes told the VLT.
A dozen people came to the LDS meetinghouse on Ringduvegatan where a vase of flowers and a portrait of Mason Bailey stood.
“We are open to our members and to the people Elder Bailey came in contact with. It can be difficult to be alone in such a moment,” Vasteras Branch President Roger Pettersson said, speaking in Swedish.
His last day alive was a nice, warm day. He was so happy and reverent after the baptism. And so it happens here, it's unbelievable.
–Thomas Otnes, LDS Church member
Earlier Sunday, Bailey and his companion attended a baptism.
“His last day alive was a nice, warm day. He was so happy and reverent after the baptism. And so it happens here, it's unbelievable,” Otnes told the VLT.
Mason Bailey's relatives received news of the death on Sunday night.
A friend has set up a fund to help the family pay for Bailey's funeral costs. Those who want to contribute can visit Help the Elder Mason Bailey Family.