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Utah football: Ute family grieving following death of Tongaonevai's wife

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 8:43 p.m. MDT

Utah teammate Ron Tongaonevai's wife Janelle was killed in a car accident Thursday night in West Valley City around 10:30 p.m., just about 90 minutes after the Utes beat Montana State in the season opener 27- 10.  A Jeep heading west hit her car in the intersection of 4800 West and 3200 South, according to police. The 38-year-old male driver of the Jeep was also killed.  (Shawn Emery, Deseret News) Utah teammate Ron Tongaonevai's wife Janelle was killed in a car accident Thursday night in West Valley City around 10:30 p.m., just about 90 minutes after the Utes beat Montana State in the season opener 27- 10. A Jeep heading west hit her car in the intersection of 4800 West and 3200 South, according to police. The 38-year-old male driver of the Jeep was also killed. (Shawn Emery, Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY — The wife of a University of Utah football player was killed in a car accident Thursday, about an hour after the game against Montana State.

Janelle Tongaonevai, 25, was killed when a Jeep heading west at about 10:30 p.m. hit her car in the intersection of 4800 West and 3100 South, according to police. The driver of the Jeep, 39-year-old Robert Davis, was also killed.

An unidentified female juvenile, who was a passenger in Tongaonevai's vehicle, was also seriously injured in the accident and was flown to a hospital and remains in serious condition. Two others in a third vehicle were injured and treated at the scene.

Tongaonevai married Ron Tongaonevai, a junior defensive lineman from West Valley City, last summer.

"Our hearts go out to Ron and families and friends on both sides of the marriage for the tragic loss of his wife Janelle," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a released statement. "This is a devastating loss for everyone involved in our program. Our players and staff are grieving for Ron and our top priority is to give him our support."

Davis apparently ran the red light at the intersection and hit the driver's side of Tongaonevai's vehicle, killing her immediately, according to a statement from West Valley City Police Sgt. Mike Powell. Davis was thrown from his vehicle and it rolled on top of him.

Police are still working on a toxicology report for the driver of the Jeep; however, because Davis died, Powell said no criminal charges will be filed.

The Utes did hold regularly scheduled meetings and film sessions Friday, although Whittingham acknowledged it wasn't easy.

"All of our thoughts and prayers are with Ron," he added. "And it's very difficult to concentrate on anything else."

Tongaonevai graduated from Hunter High School and continued his playing career at Snow College. He transferred to Utah last season and lettered, appearing in five games. He did not play in Thursday's season opener.

email: dirk@desnews.com, wleonard@desnews.com

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