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Utah father of 5 killed in fiery crash before 25th anniversary

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

BOUNTIFUL — A fiery and deadly crash in southern Utah took the life of a Bountiful father of five kids. The family said it's a miracle the three daughters who were with him made it out alive.

Dave Barnett, 51, was coming home from a family vacation in Moab last Wednesday afternoon when he lost control of his SUV and rolled it several times. The vehicle also caught fire.

James Bowley, Barnett's brother-in-law, says the family believes he may have fallen asleep at the wheel. He says Barnett's first concern was for his daughters before he died.

"After they assured him that the girls were out of the car and they'd be OK, that's when he passed away," Bowley told KSL. Bowley says the family lost an incredible husband and father. "I want him to be remembered for how he lived, you know, he was a man that you can always count on."

Looking at the mangled 4Runner, Bowley says it's a miracle the girls made it out alive.

"The oldest daughter, who was in the front seat with Dave, if you look at the picture, there's no more front to the vehicle. And Dave suffered fatal injuries. And the eldest daughter came away with a concussion. And she's home. The other daughters came away with bumps and bruises," he said. "Had I seen the car and not known the outcome of the accident, I would have assumed that it was a complete fatality."

Barnett's death comes at a time when Bowley and his family are still dealing with the sudden death of his brother, 46-year-old Dave Hibber, a father of three who died by suicide. Bowley says Barnett was the person he turned to during the loss for help.

"I'm at a point now, I don't have anyone to talk to anymore," he said.

The deadly crash also comes at a time when Barnett and his wife Becky were planning to head out of town to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

"My heart breaks for Becky," Bowley said.

He said she's doing the best she can to keep the family strong.

"Credit to my sister Becky, she's really making a strong effort to continue the girls' life," he said.

Barnett's funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday. A GoFundMe* account has been set up to help the family with medical expenses.

* 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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Dan Rascon


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