Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News
Two children were ejected from this passenger car in Provo Canyon and were declared dead at the scene on Sunday. The vehicle collided with a pickup truck around 5:30 p.m.

A crash killed two children and sent four other people to the hospital Sunday afternoon, punctuating a deadly weekend on Utah's roadways.

In all, six people were killed in crashes stretching from St. George to Roy. Also, three Ogden residents were killed in a Colorado crash.

"People think, 'It's not going to be me,"' said Utah Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Nicole Hunter. "It's that time of year — the first snowstorm, the first day of summer — when this happens."

The crash near Vivian Park in Provo Canyon was the latest Sunday and one of the weekend's worst. Just after 5:30 p.m., a pickup truck towing a trailer slammed into the passenger side of a Pontiac as it made a left turn onto U.S. 189, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Brett Christensen.

The truck tore through the car's paneling and ripped off the door and axle before going into a roll. The truck ended up back on its wheels a few hundred yards away, with the trailer even farther away. The car ended up facing westbound, its bumper yards away on a hill, its back left panel demolished.

A 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were ejected and declared dead at the scene, Christensen said.

"It's horrible," Christensen said. "We're still trying to figure out what seat belts were or were not in use."

The 33-year-old driver and two 13-year-old girls were flown in critical condition in three separate medical helicopters to University Hospital and Primary Children's Medical Center, respectively. The male driver of the white truck, in his 30s, was taken via ambulance to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

Pieces of the Pontiac, a blanket and a pink sandal lay scattered in the grass. Near the truck, a sleeping bag, camp chair and cooler lay splayed on the embankment.

Other fatal accidents in Utah: • Kevin Barrick, 24, was killed after crossing over the center line and crashing head-on with another car Saturday evening in St. George. Aston Pugmire, 78, also died as a result of that crash. Pugmire was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where she later died. Her husband, Deward Pugmire, remained in serious condition in the hospital's intensive care unit Sunday, police said.

• Jeffrey Spears, 52, was riding his motorcycle Saturday night in Roy when he was killed in a hit-and-run crash. A 24-year-old woman, believed to be the driver of a van that cut off the motorcycle, was being questioned Sunday in connection with the crash.

• Douglas E. Cottrell, 57, died after crashing into an oncoming semitrailer truck during a chase with police in Parleys Canyon on Sunday. The chase, which led police up and down the canyon, started as a suspected fraud, said Summit County sheriff's detective Josh Wall. No one else was seriously injured.

An Ogden mother and two of her young children also lost their lives in a weekend car crash in Colorado.

Maria Ruiz, 26, might have fallen asleep at the wheel as she drove through Colorado with her four children early Friday morning, police said. Ruiz might have overcorrected after her car drifted across the road near Pueblo, Colo.

Police said the vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and was struck on the passenger side by a minivan. Ruiz and sons Juan M. Garcia, 8, and Joshua E. Ruiz, 7, died at the scene. Two other children were being treated in a Denver hospital over the weekend.

Through April, there were 45 deaths in Utah as a result of traffic crashes, according to the Department of Transportation. Officials know that number will rise as the summer travel season kicks off next week. With more people taking to the roads, Hunter said it is important for drivers to use common sense behind the wheel.

"It's a good time of year for everyone to remember to slow down, definitely do not drink and drive, and beware of fatigued driving," she said.

In Provo Canyon, police said they did not believe the driver of the truck was speeding.

Police were trying to get information from sisters of the red car's injured driver, who were following behind in another vehicle.

The women were emotional following the crash, state troopers said. One of the women was seven months pregnant and had to be taken to the hospital.

Police did not know if the 33-year-old driver is the mother of all the children involved in the crash. Troopers were still trying to make contact with family members Sunday evening.

Although the road does curve near the Vivian Park area, Christensen said there is enough visibility that the area is not unusually dangerous. He reminded everyone to wear their seat belts and drive safely and within the speed limit.


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