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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
UHP Trooper Kelly Roberts inspects damage to a truck involved in a handcart accident that left two dead in Fairview on Tuesday .

FAIRVIEW, Sanpete County — Two people are dead in a crash between a pickup and a pioneer-style handcart in Fairview Canyon.

The Utah Department of Public Safety said the crash happened about 7:55 a.m. Tuesday on state Route 31 at the bottom of the canyon, when a pickup struck a family of about 12 people who were doing a Mormon pioneer trek-style re-enactment.

Both the pickup and the handcarts were headed eastbound, when the pickup came upon the handcart, which was behind a wagon and a car.

"The families were up there with the pushcarts, and a pickup truck, the guy was driving to work and just had zero visibility," said DPS spokeswoman Nicole Hunter. "When the sun hit his windshield, he had no clue pedestrians were there. He just hit them."

Montell Seely, 74, of Castle Dale, Emery County, was killed alongside Hannah Wagstaff, 13, from Tropic, Garfield County. Four others were injured and taken to the hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, where they were treated for injuries that are not believed to be life threatening.

The 12 people were from three different families and were not part of any LDS Church-sanctioned event. Utah Highway Patrol troopers were still investigating why the group was in the road. Members of the handcart trek told police they were planning to go all the way through the canyon, ending in Castle Dale.

"He was an asset to our community. He will be missed," said Kerry Lake, the bishop of Seely's LDS Castle Dale 2nd Ward. "He was just a great person."

Lake said he did not know much about the accident and had talked only briefly with one of Seely's sons. Seely was a rancher and farmer his entire life and had participated in previous handcart treks before.

"That was something he enjoyed doing," Lake said.

The driver, who is from Idaho, was working in the area. The crash remains under investigation, but Hunter said troopers do not suspect alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash. The case will be turned over to the Sanpete County Attorney's Office to screen for any possible charges.


Contributing: Ben Winslow, Pat Reavy

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com