Investigators Monday were still trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two West High School students whose bodies were pulled from a submerged automobile Monday.
Peter Wilson, 18, and Jayson S. Wilson, 16, were in the car for more than 1 1/2 days before officials were told they were there and pulled their bodies out of a Davis County canal off the Jordan River.Salt Lake County sheriff's detective Scott Bell said the incident began at about 11 p.m. Saturday when a compact car was reported stolen near the Cottonwood Mall. Police believe the four male juveniles - three West High students and a former student - took the vehicle on a "joy ride" that ended in tragedy, Bell said.
The car was traveling on a dirt road near 25th West and Center Street in North Salt Lake when the driver apparently didn't realize that the road made a 90-degree turn north. "The car went straight into the canal," said Bell.
Two of the juveniles escaped from the car, but the other two remained trapped inside - one in the front seat and the other in the back.
"At least one of them was trapped in the vehicle and was trying to get out," Bell said. "But he could not get the seat belt released. He panicked and kicked the door open."
"The other one may have been injured or unconscious. We don't know."
The automobile was submerged in the 6-foot-deep canal. The sheriff's office helicopter spotted the vehicle Monday afternoon, and search and rescue workers removed the bodies about 1:30 p.m.
Detectives said the father of one of the victims had been looking for his son since Sunday morning. He met with West High School resource officer Jim Chandler Monday morning. Acting on rumors around the school, officers approached one of the juveniles allegedly involved in the incident, who finally admitted what had happened.
"His conscience wouldn't let him go any further and he finally had to tell us," Bell said.
Why hadn't the two survivors told anyone earlier?
"Basically because they were scared," he said. "They were afraid of where they stood (about) being arrested. They panicked and they couldn't figure out what to do and so they did nothing."
The two juveniles, both 17, were questioned Monday and released to the custody of their parents. Detectives say they do not yet know if any charges will be filed.