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Tot, 2 men die in accidents

Three people were killed on Utah roads over the Labor Day weekend, the same number who perished during last year's holiday.

Killed were:

Jennifer Veloz, 2, Denver.

Steven Lawrence Potter, 22, Vernal.

Frederick James Cornpeach, 35, Whiterocks, Uintah County.

The fatal accidents occurred on I-70 in Sevier County, U.S. 40 outside Duchesne and on U-121 in Uintah County.

During the Labor Day weekend in 2002, three out-of-state people were killed on roads in downtown Hurricane, on U.S. 6 outside Price and on I-70 near Salina, Sevier County.

The Labor Day holiday can be one of the deadliest in Utah because many people are traveling, including families taking their last vacations of the summer, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Brian Nelson said.

"Three's too many; we'd like it at zero," Nelson said of the fatalities.

Veloz was killed Monday after an accident on eastbound I-70 near Elsinore, Sevier County. She was one of six passengers in a sports-utility vehicle driven by Maria Guiterrez, 24, also of Denver.

The UHP said Guiterrez may have fallen asleep while driving about 9:35 a.m. The SUV went off the right side of the freeway at high speed. Guiterrez overcorrected, which caused the SUV to slide sideways.

As the vehicle returned to the road, it rolled several times before coming to a rest on its top, a UHP statement said.

Four people were thrown from the SUV, including Veloz, who was not properly secured in her child seat. She suffered head trauma and died on the way to Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, the statement said.

The other people who were ejected were taken to the Richfield hospital, then airlifted to hospitals with trauma centers in Salt Lake City and Provo, the statement said.

The accident is under investigation.

Potter was driving three passengers in a pickup truck on U.S. 40 outside Duchesne about 4:20 a.m. Sunday. The pickup went off the south side of the road. It returned to the road, but then went off the north side and rolled several times, a UHP statement said.

Potter and two passengers were ejected. Potter died of head and chest injuries.

Investigators were determining Potter's speed, which may have contributed to the accident. Potter also may have been sleepy, the statement said.

About 1:50 a.m. Saturday, Cornpeach was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Carmalita Olivera Montes, 31, of Roosevelt. The pair were traveling east on U-121 near LaPoint, Uintah County, a Roosevelt police report stated.

The vehicle apparently hit a horse, then went off the road on the south side. The road was wet with light rain.

Cornpeach and Montes were not wearing seat belts and were extricated from the vehicle, police said. Cornpeach suffered fatal head and neck injuries.

Montes suffered a broken neck, head and facial injuries. She was transported to a local hospital. She also was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol and automobile homicide, police said.


E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com


Contributing: Derek Jensen