The rain-soaked Memorial Day weekend was further marred by four traffic fatalities and a recreation accident that sent a cyclist over a small cliff in Grand County.

A woman died on Salt Lake City's Capitol Hill on Monday afternoon when her car crossed into oncoming traffic, striking a jersey barrier before colliding head-on with a sport-utility vehicle. The crash occurred on Victory Road (100 West) near 800 North, said Salt Lake City Police Lt. Issac Atencio.

Four children riding in the SUV were taken to Primary Children's Medical Center to be checked out, Atencio said. All had been wearing seat belts and were expected to be OK.

The woman, believed to be in her 60s, had died by the time paramedics arrived, Atencio said. Police were unsure Monday evening whether she died as a result of the crash or from an unrelated medical condition. Her name had not been released by press time.

Three others died in accidents in Spanish Fork Canyon, Summit County and Clearfield during the weekend.

The Davis County crash Sunday took the life of 41-year-old Ernestina "Tina" Strong of Salt Lake City, said Clearfield Police Sgt. Shane Norfeldt. Strong had been trying to avoid another wreck on northbound I-15 near the Clearfield junction when her car rolled through the median and across all lanes of oncoming traffic, witnesses told investigators. Strong was the car's only occupant.

In the Spanish Fork Canyon incident Saturday, Frank Mell, who survived a truck rollover, was killed after climbing back on to U.S. 6 with four other men and being struck by another car that was sliding out of control on the slippery pavement.

Chad Loftus died Saturday in the Summit County incident after his vehicle drifted into the path of a semitrailer truck on I-80 near the Wyoming border.

The four deaths doubled the two traffic fatalities from the same holiday weekend in 2007, but was less deadly than the week just preceding it. Thirteen people were killed on Utah roads between May 16 and 22.

Wet weather contributed to one of the fatalities, while intoxication may have contributed to another, police said. To combat drunken driving, Utah Highway Patrol officers — some on overtime — conducted a dragnet in Salt Lake and Utah counties during the weekend, taking 36 suspected drunken drivers into custody.

Besides highway accidents, Utah emergency personnel also had to handle a serious bicycle accident. On Saturday afternoon, 34-year-old Victoria Bartel fell from a 10- to 15-foot-high cliff in Grand County. She had been riding with two friends when her bicycle became tangled in another's wheels. The woman from Edwards, Colo., was airlifted from the area with serious injuries.

While the weekend was rainy and unusually cold for this time of year, the precipitation was nothing extraordinary, according to the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. There were no reports of flooding or other weather-related problems. The rain did not cause flooding because the cold Pacific storm slowed the melting of mountain snow, meteorologist Pete Wilensky said. Some high-elevation spots received several inches of snow over the weekend.

Weather conditions through next week should be "perfect for bringing snow down in an orderly matter," Wilensky said.


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