SALT LAKE CITY — A Providence mother was killed in a head-on crash with a 15-year-old driver near Smithfield on Saturday.
Samantha Perkes, 28, was westbound on state Route 218 in her Pontiac Grand Am when a teen with a learner's permit driving an eastbound Ford Fusion drifted into the oncoming lane about 3:40 p.m., according to Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry.
While the vehicle in front of Perkes was able to veer out of the way, Perkes wasn't.
"As they got close, (the front driver) realized that they would crash if he didn't do something, so the front witness car actually drove off the road to the right," Perry said. "(Perkes) didn't have time to react to what was happening and her car and the Ford Fusion hit head-on in the westbound lane there."
Perkes was killed instantly in the crash, Perry said.
The 15-year-old boy driving the other car, who had a learner's permit but was in the car alone, was taken by medical helicopter to Primary Children's Hospital with serious head injuries, Perry said. The boy was speaking to officials at the scene.
Perkes' 7- and 4-year-old daughters, who were properly restrained in the back seat, appeared to have sustained only minor injuries. However, after being checked out at Cache Valley Hospital, both girls were taken to Primary Children's Hospital for overnight observation.
When the girls are released from the hospital, they will placed in the care of their grandmother, Perry said.
Investigators are looking into why the boy was driving alone and what caused him to drift into oncoming traffic, Perry said. Officers have not yet been able to interview the teen.
"We've got several things we need to gather and put together on this to determine what the cause was," Perry said.
The Cache County Attorney's Office will also review the investigation's findings, Perry said.
A GoFundMe account for Perkes, who goes by "Sammi," was established to help cover funeral expenses.
"Our hearts break for her daughters and the rest of the family for what they are having to go through," the GoFundMe profile says.