Vigil held for Dixie State student killed in wrong-way crash


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ST. GEORGE – Students and friends gathered at Dixie State University Thursday to honor the life of a student who was killed in a wrong-way crash in Nevada.

"We just want to remember Sam's infectious attitude. His smile. He was just always positive and upbeat," said Mike Nelson, assistant director of DSU's Multicultural and Inclusion Center.

Samuela Maluamaka Tupola studied communications and served as the president of the university's Multicultural Inclusion Student Association. Friends said he made others feel valued. He cared about them and the issues that impacted them.

"He has touched countless lives on campus. He has been a true leader especially, in the area of social justice," Nelson said.

On Saturday Tupola was driving back home from Las Vegas with four others when a driver slammed into them head-on. The Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating whether the wrong-way driver was impaired. Tupola later died from his injuries.

"It's tragic. It really is. Sam was incredible. An incredible student leader. An incredible friend," said Penny Mills, student body president.

"Sam made his mark on DSU and Utah as a student-leader. He had an incredibly positive vision to make our campus and world a better place," Mills said. "He made everyone feel valued. He continually was a great friend and support not only to me but to all students around him. Sam was incredibly motivated and always an optimist. He was such a loving, understanding, passionate, motivated, dedicated, fun, talented friend. His absence will be felt by many, but we will fight to help his legacy live on."

The conditions of the other four passengers are unknown at this time. The family of Tupola has set up a GoFundMe* page to help cover funeral and medical expenses.

*KSL does not assure that the money 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 advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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