SALT LAKE CITY — Relatives of a mother and her two daughters who died near Wendover in a horrific collision on the way to a weekend camping trip are struggling to deal with the loss.
Deirdre Yazzie said it was difficult to find out that her aunt and two cousins were killed in a crash that the Utah Highway Patrol says it believes was caused by a drunken driver.
"We want him to know that was a really bad choice to be on the road," Yazzie said, choked with emotion. "That's something we as a family are going to have to deal with every holiday, every birthday, every July Fourth now. That's going to be something we're going to remember."
Delphine John, 44, and her daughters Delilah Ramirez, 20, and Anaya Adame Orozco, 3, of Farmington, were the passengers in a Chevrolet Suburban that was struck by a pickup driving the wrong direction on I-80 about 32 miles from the Utah/Nevada border.
The only occupant of the SUV who survived, Jose Fidel Adame-Orozco, 36, remains in a medically induced coma. Yazzie said Adame-Orozco suffered a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and a broken leg, but his condition is improving.
The family was going camping in Nevada when the crash happened about 6:30 p.m. Friday.
"Fidel is always working. He works really long days, over 12-hour days. He doesn't get to spend a lot of time with them. This was sort of their time to be together," Yazzie said.
The couple had been together for about seven years, and the birth of their daughter three years ago came as a surprise because John suffered from diabetes, she said.
"She kind of just came out of nowhere. When they had her, they were so happy. She just kind of binded them all together a little closer," Yazzie said.
"Anaya was a like a little ball of light. She was always fun to be around. She really made everyone have a lot of joy whenever she was around."
John was "very strong lady" who looked after her children and spoiled her grandchildren, Yazzie said. She said her aunt loved to cook for weekend family gatherings. John also leaves behind a 24-year-old son and his wife and two children.
Ramirez was the sweetest person, Yazzie said.
"I'm always going remember her hugs and talking with her. She's a very good person. She never did anything wrong. She never got angry," she said of her cousin.
Yazzie said it's going to be hard to tell Adame-Orozco that his family is gone. She said the burial will be on the Navajo Nation in Arizona where John is from. Yazzie intends to set up an account Monday under "Delphine John and Family Fund" at Wells Fargo bank to help with funeral costs.
UHP Lt. Corey Nye said Saturday that authorities believe the truck's driver, Paul Michael Mumford, 36, of West Jordan, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Mumford was hospitalized in stable condition. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case for possible charges.
On Saturday, UHP called for the public's help in identifying the victims of the crash. Shortly after their plea, a family member contacted UHP and was able to identify the vehicle.
The nature of the collision was such that it was nearly impossible to identify John, Orozco and Ramirez.
Contributing: Sandra Yi
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