On March 11, 2010, my son Donald drove up to the Salt Lake area for a manager’s training class for his work in Richfield. He had been looking forward to going to these classes for a number of months. He saw these classes as a way to better himself and to provide for his 11½-month-old daughter, Aspen. Part of the training included visiting several fast food restaurants to evaluate them. He was grouped with three other participants—people he had only met that afternoon. Donald was sitting behind the driver. While driving, they came upon a TRAX crossing with the crossing arm down. For some unknown reason, the driver went around the crossing arm and the car was immediately hit by a TRAX train going approximately 55 mph. The car was dragged approximately 300 feet. Donald and the driver were killed instantly and the other two passengers were severely injured.
Donald was a senior at South Sevier High School in Monroe and was looking forward to graduation. He was active in football, wrestling and weightlifting. He loved the outdoors—fishing, hunting and camping. Just several days before he was killed, the four-wheel drive in his truck was fixed. After picking up the truck he went out to try it out. He called me and was so excited, telling me, “Mom, all four tires spin!” He was so happy—looking forward for spring to come so he could go up in the mountains. Now there is no spring for Donald. One thing I learned about my son after his death was how kind and willing he was to help others around him. He loved his daughter, Aspen.
Driving a car is a privilege and a responsibility. When others are in the car with you, you are taking their lives in your hands. There are reasons for the crossing arms at railroad tracks… to protect those coming up to the tracks. So many lives have been forever changed because of the poor choice of the driver. Donald’s daughter will never know her dad. His sisters and brother will miss out on a lifetime of memories. His father and I will never see him grow up into a mature young man, not to mention all his wonderful friends who miss him dearly… and Donald was only one of the four persons in the car. Please be a responsible driver. Obey the laws. They are there to protect you.