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Samantha Hayes ReportingHundreds of cars slow down every day in the construction zone on I-15 near Clearfield, but this afternoon, one did not. A chain reaction crash killed an 18-month-old little girl. Two other young children in the same car are in the hospital tonight; so is their grandmother.
Highway Patrol troopers say this accident was entirely preventable.
Howard Nelson was behind the semi truck when it started slowing down in the construction zone on the interstate. He slowed down, too, but he could not see what was happening behind him.
Howard Nelson, crash victim: "The vehicle in back of us hit us real hard because the truck in back of it hit it real hard, pushed us into the semi."
A white box truck did not slow down. It hit the Ford Explorer in front of it, which crashed into Nelson's Impala.
Howard Nelson: "My car was crumpled up. The trunk and back seat pushed clear up to the front seats."
But it was the Explorer that took the brunt of the rear-end crash, 65 miles an hour, according to UHP. That killed one of the three children inside, 18-month-old Alexis Pendley. They were returning from the airport where Alexis's mother was leaving on military assignment. The little girl's grandfather was driving.
Lt. Bob Anderson, Utah Highway Patrol: "I talked to him for a while about the loss of his grandchild. He felt responsible for it. We really at the scene sat him down and told him that he did everything right."
Howard Nelson is also a grandpa; his little Madison was in the back seat. She is safe and sound tonight.
Howard Nelson: "Yes, very lucky, fortunate."
UHP tells us all the children were properly restrained in their car seats.
The other two children in the Explorer are at Primary Children's tonight and are expected to live. Their grandmother is in critical condition at LDS hospital.