Crash claims Murray missionary

Elder Spencer Platt, 20, dies in Montana crash

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2001 11:05 a.m. MST

Family, friends and members of the Homestead ward in Murray are heartbroken over the death of one of their own — a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was killed in a rollover accident near Great Falls, Mont., the ward's bishop, Jeffrey Labrum, says.

Elder Spencer Platt, 20, died Monday night outside Power, a town about 20 miles north of Great Falls.

His missionary companion, Elder Douglas Clark of Lonetree, Colo., was also in the car. Clark was injured and transported by ambulance to a Great Falls hospital. He is expected to fully recover, LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills said. Both have served 11 months as missionaries.

Elder Platt was an Eagle Scout, recipient of the Duty to God award and a 2000 graduate of Murray High School, where he played hockey and sang in the a capella and madrigal choirs.

"He loved people. He was outgoing. Everybody in the neighborhood loved him. He was just a great guy," said Labrum, Elder Platt's bishop in the Homestead ward of the Murray South Stake.

After high school, Elder Platt got a job and saved money for his mission, Labrum said. When not at work, Elder Platt could be seen at home doing yard work or participating in various service projects.

"Whenever there was a service project, he was there. He never had to be coerced into youth service projects. I was always so impressed. He always wanted to go on his mission," said Labrum, who, with the stake president, broke the news of the death to the family about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

He said the family is in shock and grieving over the death but are comforted that Elder Platt died performing "the service of the Lord." Friends and other church members are also saddened. "He's lived here his whole life until he went on his mission when he was 19," Labrum said.

About 7 p.m. Monday a compact car was traveling on a gravel, rural county road, Teton County sheriff's deputy coroner Keith Van Setten said. Elder Clark was driving and Elder Platt was the passenger.

"Apparently the driver of the vehicle fell asleep at the wheel, the car drifted off to the side of the road, and from the information I have, the driver attempted to correct and the vehicle rolled over several times," Van Setten said.

An individual who was traveling through the area came upon the scene "some time after" the rollover, probably within a half hour, Van Setten said. "He rendered aid initially, then left to summon help."

Elder Platt was pronounced dead at the scene, Van Setten said. Elder Clark suffered head trauma and was taken to Benefis East Medical Center.

Elder Platt is survived by his mother, Myra Platt of Murray, father James Platt of the Seattle area, three sisters and two brothers, Labrum said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com

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