An autopsy report by the state medical examiner's office indicates damage to the aorta was the initial cause of death of a Provo man who died in a freak accident that ended at the doors of the Provo LDS Temple Wednesday, said Brigham Young University spokesman Brent Harker.
The victim, E. Dan Boyce, 90, and his wife, Echo, were leaving the parking area of the temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Wednesday afternoon when their car collided with another vehicle.Harker said the autopsy report indicated Dan Boyce's chest hit the steering wheel. That jolt caused the aorta, which the coroner said was rigid and brittle, to break off where it was connected to the heart. There was a 30- to 45-second delay in reaction time before his body went into shock.
The delayed reaction time was enough time for Gordon B. Swapp, driver of the other vehicle, to reach the Boyce car. When shock set in, Boyce's body became rigid, causing his foot to push down on the accelerator, and the car sped forward, striking a Brigham Young University student, Lisa Birkinshaw, 19, White Candle Spring, Texas, who was standing in a passenger drop-off area.
Boyce's car eventually was stopped by a pillar supporting the canopy in front of the temple. Harker said apparently the second impact caused a bone to break and pierce the heart, causing about one-third of the blood in Boyce's body to enter the chest cavity.
Birkinshaw was in critical but stable condition Friday and Echo Boyce remained in critical condition at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
Harker said Swapp and the Boyces have been close friends for several years.