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Teen killed in crash remembered as just coming into his own

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 29 2012 4:21 p.m. MST

A Jordan High School athletic jersey is taped to a light pole on State Street near 10100 South in Sandy Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. A Jordan High School student died after hitting this light pole.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SANDY — Friends say Brandon Evans, 17, was a nice, quiet boy who worked extremely hard and was coming into his own on the Jordan High School track team.

"He's the epitome of what you ask for as far as dedication. He was always at practice, always working hard to get better," coach Greg Crammer said Wednesday. "He's the kid who trips on a tree root, gets scraped up, gets up and goes some more."

"Brandon was just kind of coming out of his shell, finding out who he was, getting a group of friends and enjoying life," added Jordan High Principal Tom Sherwood. "He was a great kid and it's a tragic circumstance."

The tributes flowed Wednesday as friends, faculty and students who didn't really know Brandon mourned his loss.

Brandon was driving north on State Street just after 5 p.m. Tuesday with three other friends, two juniors and a sophomore, when his vehicle began swerving near 10100 South, like what would happen if someone was jerking the wheel, said Sandy Police Sgt. Troy Arnold.

"He lost control of the car, overcorrected a couple of times, hit the curb, which caused the car to roll onto its side," he said.

The car smashed its driver's side into a light pole. Brandon was pronounced dead at the scene. One passenger was taken by medical helicopter to a local hospital and later upgraded to stable condition. Two others were taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where they were treated and later released.

The cause of the accident was still being investigated Wednesday, but Arnold said it did not appear that speed, drugs or alcohol were factors. It may have just been a case of horseplay in the vehicle and inexperienced driving.

"It's a tragic reminder of how important it is for young drivers to stay focused on what they're doing," Arnold said.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety's Highway Safety Office, a crash involving a teen driver happens every 35 minutes in Utah.

• Utah State University student Taylor Sauer, 18, from Caldwell, Idaho, was returning home in January when she ran into the back of a semitrailer on I-84 about 13 miles outside of Mountain Home, Idaho. Police say distracted driving contributed to the crash.

• Jaxen Henderson, a 17-year-old Copper Hills High School senior, was pulling her car into New Bingham Highway at 5150 West after school on Oct. 17 when she was struck broadside by a pickup truck and killed.

• Trenten Crawford, 18, of Tooele, died Jan. 28 following a rollover crash on state Route 36. He was experiencing "diabetic problems" and was reaching down for something to eat or drink when his car drifted from the roadway, prompting him to overcorrect. The car then rotated, slide off the road and rolled several times, ejecting him and an 18-year-old passenger.

At Jordan High on Wednesday, many students wore gray to honor Brandon.

"I feel really bad for all of his friends. I know they're going to be crying all day. He's going to be missed," said student Samantha Johns.

Brandon's death marks the third at Jordan High School this year. In the fall a volleyball player was killed in a Wyoming car crash, and earlier this year a student committed suicide.

Grief counselors were present at the school Wednesday. Although it's hard for students, Sherwood said they will pull through.

"They tend to lean on each other really heavy. With social media the way it is, they Facebook about it, and they process in different ways than they have in the past. But they all share their feelings openly and honestly and I think they have the support of their friends and maybe a broader community than they have before," the principal said.

"They're resilient. They'll get through it."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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