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Couple, infant killed in accident on SR-36

LAKE POINT, Tooele County — A couple and their 9-month-old son were killed in a car accident that closed down state Route 36 in both directions for several hours, the Utah Highway Patrol said.

Few details had been released by press time, but UHP troopers said that for some reason, the southbound vehicle carrying Jacob F. Herrera, 21; his girlfriend, Kristi Westfall, 30; and their son, Damian, swerved into the far end of the northbound lane before ending up sideways in the lane of state Route 36 near Lake Point, where it was broadsided by a semitrailer at about 6:45 p.m.

The accident occurred near the road's junction with I-80, leading to a shutdown of the road as cleanup crews worked to remove the semitrailer from the road.

Troopers said the semitrailer driver thought the Dodge Intrepid was making a turn in front of him and didn't realize the vehicle was stopped.

Herrera, Westfall and the infant were instantly killed. Troopers spent about an hour working to extricate their bodies. The semitrailer driver sustained minor injuries, said UHP trooper Cameron Roden.

Northbound travelers were diverted to I-80, and southbound traffic was not being allowed off I-80 and was diverted to Grantsville, dispatchers reported.

The road was closed for 3 1/2 hours.

— Lana Groves

Panel OKs Boys & Girls Clubs grants

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Thursday a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to reauthorize a Justice Department grant program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Hatch, who pushed the bill with Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the clubs "have a proven track record of making a difference in the lives of youth in Utah and elsewhere across the nation."

He added, "This wonderful organization helps children steer clear of the path that leads to drugs, delinquency and gang involvement."

Leahy said, "Investing in the future of our young people yields positive returns for our communities. … This is not a Democratic or Republican idea. It is just an idea that makes sense."

The pair worked in previous years to secure funding for the organization, also. The bill now goes to the full Senate.

This story was reported from Salt Lake City.

— Lee Davidson

Townhome project hearing canceled

HIGHLAND — Hours before a public hearing regarding a controversial townhome project, the meeting was canceled because some City Council members felt they did not have time to review an appeal.

Toscana at Highland is a 162-unit townhome project set to be built in Highland's Towne Center. The Planning Commission approved plans for the 7.14-acre subdivision in December, but City Councilman Brian Braithwaite filed an appeal against the commission.

Braithwaite argues the Planning Commission "acted beyond their authority" and that there is a "compelling, countervailing public interest."

The city's Board of Adjustment listened to a hearing earlier this month. Their decision was expected to be announced at the meeting Wednesday, but as of that evening, the board had not reached a decision.

Residents have been vocally upset that they did not get a chance to voice their opinion over the subdivision, the first affordable housing project in Highland.

Developer Grant Gifford of Flagship Homes said the units would have an Italian-country design, each three stories tall with a two-car garage.

— Amelia Nielson-Stowell