An elderly woman was killed and her grandson was in surgery in critical condition Tuesday afternoon after their car smashed into a power pole. The force of the impact snapped the wood pole and caused it to fall over.

Jeanne Carr, 80, was taken to a local hospital in extremely critical condition and later pronounced dead. Her 26-year-old grandson was critical late Tuesday afternoon. His name was not released.

The two were driving on 3900 South before noon and had stopped at the traffic light at Highland Drive. When they continued, they drove a little further before the vehicle drifted to the side, hopped the curb and smashed the pole at 1500 East.

"There was no evidence of any braking," said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Kris Ownby.

At least one witness told investigators the woman and her grandson, who was driving, were engaged in a discussion that seemed to be "rather intense," Ownby said. It wasn't known Tuesday if it was an argument, a disagreement or just an emotional talk, he said.

Whether that argument was a factor in the accident or distracted the driver was being looked into, Ownby said.

The collision with the power pole caused the lines to spark and started a small grass fire, said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Jay Torgersen. The fire was out by the time fire crews arrived. Power to the area was knocked out for about a half hour, he said.

The accident was still under investigation Tuesday.