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Distracted driver caused fatal crash on Bangerter Highway, police say

By Ben Lockhart | Posted - Jun. 10, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.



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Correction: In a previous version of this story, police identified the deceased victim incorrectly. This story has been updated. WEST VALLEY CITY — A woman's preoccupation with her glasses resulted in a fatal crash Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The 25-year-old Salt Lake woman was cleaning her glasses while driving north on Bangerter Highway about 3:45 p.m. when her Nissan Rogue rear-ended a Plymouth Neon, killing a teenage passenger in the back seat, said West Valley Police Lt. Scott Buchanan.

Rodrigo Zavala-Vargas Jr., 15, died from his injuries. He was a student at Granger High School.

The Neon was stopped at a light at 2400 South that had turned green just a moment before the collision, according to Buchanan. The driver and a front-seat passenger in the Neon, a 35 year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, were hospitalized with serious injuries but were expected to survive. They were in stable condition Wednesday evening.

The woman driving the Rogue suffered no significant injuries. Buchanan said investigators were still reviewing possible charges Wednesday afternoon.

"This is the height of the reason why we focus so much time and energy on distracted driving," Buchanan said. "It’s not just cellphones and things of that nature. It could be anything that takes away your attention from what’s in front of you just for a second. And in this case, the results were absolutely tragic."

The Rogue likely impacted the Neon at about 50 mph, according to the lieutenant.

Northbound Bangerter Highway remained closed early Wednesday evening while police worked to clear the scene.

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