SALT LAKE CITY — For those who love Brynn Barton, who at 24-years-old was killed in a hit-and-run accident late Tuesday, there is a sense of what could have been.
"She had her whole life ahead of her," sister Erin Barton said.
"It's not going to be the same," added her brother, Jeffrey Barton.
But there is also the pride in what was, in what Barton was able to do during her young life. Her siblings stood arm-in-arm Wednesday as they talked about her service trips to India, Peru and Africa, her forays into skydiving and her love of karaoke.
"She just had plans," sister Emilee Shafizadeh said. "She was definitely our adventure gal."
Barton was headed south on a bicycle along 700 East when she was hit and killed around 10 p.m. near 800 South, Salt Lake police detective Mike Hamideh said.
Barton was in a group of bicyclists, but the others were far enough ahead of her that they "didn't even hear or see" Barton get hit, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Craig Gleason. Barton's friends were interviewed, but were only able to provide "garbled" information at the scene because Gleason said they were traumatized.
Barton was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, he said.
The investigation is in the earliest stages and very little information was available as to how the accident may have occurred. "(Detectives) are looking at evidence at the scene and comparing it to witness statements," Hamideh said.
The driver left the scene. Neighbors Melissa and Edvin Biogradlija rushed out of their home as soon as they heard a "big bang" and said other neighbors noted that whoever hit Barton hadn't even tried to stop.
"That, for me, is not human," Edvin Biogradlija said. "I don't know who can do that."
Erin Barton said she feels sorry for the driver, whoever it may be. "He has to live with that every day," she said. "You have those hard feelings, but you just have to put them aside and just forgive, I guess."
But Shafizadeh struggles with the fact that whoever hit her sister left her lying in the road. "The hardest part is to leave her there," she said.
The siblings all said their sister Brynn was "full of life."
"Definitely," Erin Barton added. "And she loved her family, so it's just going to be a hard one to get over."
This was echoed by brother-in-law David Gatti.
"She's the kind of person who lived life, like they say 'to live life like you were dying,'" he said. "She did everything she wanted to do."
Multiple family members said Barton loved her job, working as a nurse in the maternal care unit at University Hospital. Her colleagues gathered Wednesday to talk about their friend.
They wiped tears from their eyes as they recounted what they loved about Barton.
"Her infectious smile and laugh we'll always remember," Marion Foltz said. "She really, genuinely loved everyone. … What a beautiful, amazing human being."
Sarah Maag said she loved Barton's style, especially her taste in shoes. "She was the most well-dressed girl ever." Breanne Downs said Barton was a talented harp player who was more than happy to play for hours at Downs' wedding.
And while she was a great nurse by all accounts, she also had a "zeal for life." T.J. Simonsen said Barton was always traveling and raising money for humanitarian work.
Julie Canfield said Barton didn't have a single enemy among a staff of 125 when she supervised her in the operating rooms. "She was supportive and kind to everyone."
Nurse manager Terrie Dority, who had been supervising Barton since she was hired as a nurse in August 2010, said the woman was already one of her "highest performers." She said she and her staff were devastated to hear of Barton's death.
"She was vivacious, energetic, kind, caring, compassionate and her patients loved her to death," Dority said. "We are going to miss her. She was an angel among us."11 comments on this story
Neighborhood resident Mel Haman said the intersection is a "dangerous" one. He believes it's because southbound motorists sometimes speed up once they pass Trolley Square.
"They think it's free sailing until 2100 South," he said.
Police are looking for a dark-colored Volkswagen Passat manufactured between 1998 and 2001 with front-end damage. Anyone with information regarding the car or anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call police at 799-INFO.
Also, a memorial account has been set up in Barton's name at Wells Fargo Bank and contributions are being accepted at any of the bank's locations.