TABIONA, Duchesne County — Justine Barneck was outgoing, selfless and perpetually happy.
And that made others want to be around her, said the girl's older sister, Stacie Allred.
"We'll miss her," Allred said. "She was definitely one in a million."
The 15-year-old Tabiona girl was killed about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday after the car she was riding in hit the edge of a roadway damaged by a severe thunderstorm.
The storm had washed out a culvert, damaging state Route 35 in an area spanning 30 feet deep and 40 feet across. Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said the thunderstorm hit within 15 minutes of the accident.
Justine died at the scene. Her father, Michael Barneck, 59, was driving the vehicle and was injured.
"It's obvious they did not anticipate (the damaged road)," Johnson said. "It just happened so quickly."
The 37-year-old driver of a second vehicle, traveling in the opposite direction, also was impacted by the damaged roadway. The vehicle belonging to the White Rocks woman landed on its front bumper with its "back end pointing straight in the air," the UHP reported.
Both drivers were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. All of those involved in the accident were wearing seat belts at the time.
Allred, who went to the scene of the accident shortly afterward, described the damaged road as "very hard to see."
"If you were just driving, I think it probably looked just like the road was wet," she said. "There was nothing he could have done."
Michael Barneck sustained bruised ribs in the accident, as well some cuts to his face and head, Allred said.
Justine leaves behind five siblings, including a twin sister, Jentri. The girls would have been sophomores together in the fall at Tabiona High School.
"(Jentri) is really devastated at this point," Allred said. "They were inseparable."
Justine also was a "very good athlete" who loved volleyball and basketball, her older sister said.
"She was amazing," Allred said.
Mike Wagner, a bishop for the local ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tabiona, said Justine's death has shaken the small town of fewer than 1,000 people.
"She was well-loved by everyone in this community," Wagner said, adding that his daughter was one of Justine's best friends. "(She was) a bright star. There was nobody better."
Elsewhere in the state, heavy monsoonal rains have caused flooding and damaged roads in the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah.
"The summer monsoon season brings changes to the landscape every year," said Terry Delay, Escalante district ranger. "It is important that our visitors be aware of the potential for roads to be closed after large storm events."
Delay said many roads and trails have been washed out and damaged. Areas on the east side of the forest near Panguitch and Escalante have been the hardest hit. Specifically, a culvert at Sand Creek on the Hell’s Backbone Road washed out. The road is closed and crews are working hard to get it open by the end of next week.5 comments on this story
Visitors to the area are urged to call or stop by the Powell Ranger District in Panguitch at 435-676-9300 or the Escalante Ranger District at 435-826-5400 to get up-to-date road and trail information.
Officials are also warning visitors to stay on main roads and not travel to unfamiliar areas without first checking on conditions.
The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City is warning of potentially hazardous weather in eastern Utah and western Colorado for Thursday that could linger into next week. Isolated showers and storms remain possible in the eastern Uinta Mountains and the eastern Uintah Basin.
Contributing: Marc Giauque, Mike Anderson, Amy Joi O'Donoghue