HERRIMAN — A Herriman High School student was killed in a crash Thursday that also injured two of her classmates after police say another vehicle ran a red light.
Herriman High officials announced to students that Cadee Conner, 16, a sophomore, was killed in the collision.
About 11:30 a.m., a Dodge pickup was stopped at the intersection of 14400 S. Mountain View Corridor. When the light turned green, the pickup began to move. But Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell said a Mazda drove through the red light and smashed into the passenger side of the truck, causing it roll.
The pickup came to a stop when it hit a dump truck that was waiting for the light to turn green. Bell said the driver of that vehicle had spotted the fast-moving, oncoming Mazda and did not move.
Conner, who was in the front passenger seat of the pickup, was killed. Two other students were taken to local hospitals in serious condition, Bell said. Conner was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the lieutenant.
Many took to social media to offer condolences after the announcement at the school.
"We are shocked to hear the loss of our fellow classmate and friend. … Please keep Cadee's family in your thoughts and prayers," HerrimanHERD tweeted.
Conner was a member of the Herriman High girl's lacrosse team. A message was posted on the team website announcing that practice was canceled Thursday due to the accident, and a meeting place was set up for any team member who needed to talk.
Lacrosse team members and coaches remembered Conner as a driven and kind teammate.
"She was fun, beautiful, just amazing to deal with as a player and as a person," said assistant coach Deana Kenyon.
Thursday was a painful ordeal for Conner's teammates and friends, said head coach Lindsay Gomn.
"It's been a really hard day for our team," Gomn said. "She will be really greatly missed on this time. She touched everybody, and I don't think there is one player that will forget her."
"Our community suffered a great tragedy today as three of our students were in a serious car accident on the (Mountain View Corridor)," a post on the Herriman High School PTSA Facebook page stated. "Our hearts go out to (Cadee's) family. The loss of a child is so difficult. We pray for the two other students who are in serious condition, that they will reach full recovery. We love our HHS student body. We pray that you will find comfort as you process this event.
"I beg every person who travels the (Mountain View Corridor) to please slow down and stop before the light turns red. A few minutes at a red light is worth the lives of those who are also traveling."
Others also posted messages on their Facebook pages, offering prayers for Conner's family.
The driver of the Mazda, a woman in her 20s, was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. Bell said there was a baby strapped into a car seat in the back of the Mazda. The child was taken to a local hospital as a precaution but was not believed to be injured. The woman was reportedly the baby's aunt, he said. Her identity was also not released.
The Mountain View Corridor has been the scene of several fatal accidents in recent months, including:
- On Sept. 4, a 56-year-old Herriman man was killed in a collision on the corridor at 9000 South.
A 39-year-old woman was killed in a crash along the corridor at 13400 South on May 30.
Two Herriman drivers were killed in a head-on collision on the corridor near 11300 South in November.
Mary Rowbury, a Herriman resident who works as an insurance claims adjuster, said the Mountain View Corridor is a dangerous roadway in part because issues with its traffic lights. She said there is a very short delay between the traffic light in one direction turning red and cross traffic being given a green light.
"The timing on the lights, they really should be looking at that," Rowbury said of the Utah Department of Transportation. "If I’m the first person coming out of the gate, believe me, I am looking both ways."
Rowbury added that speeding on the Mountain View Corridor is a problem. She believes there should be a stronger police presence on the road and that speeding drivers should be ticketed more frequently.
"This has got to stop," Rowbury said of the rash of fatal crashes. "My daughter is about to get her license. You don’t know how scared I am to have her drive (on that road)."
Rowbury's daughter knows Conner from playing lacrosse together, and everyone who knew the teen is distraught, she said.
"It just affects so many peoples lives when they have to see this happen," she said.
Counselors spoke with students at Herriman High on Thursday and were in high demand, said Sandy Riesgraf, spokeswoman for Jordan School District. Friday was a previously scheduled day off for students, but counselors planned to be there at 7:30 a.m. that day for any local students who still need to talk, she said.
A Herriman High dance originally planned for Thursday was postponed indefinetely.
"We like the students to talk about it. We tell the students to take care of themselves, to make sure they're hydrating, make sure they're eating and to make sure they're sleeping," said Norma Villar, who oversees student intervention services for Jordan School District and is working as the crisis team head in the fatal crash's aftermath. "It's important to keep their physical well-being up so that then the emotional well being can follow suit."
Villar said grieving students described Conner as social and nonjudgemental. The entire student body and those at other nearby schools who knew the girl are genuinely reeling from her death, she said.
"The school is devastated," Villar said. "Jordan School District as a whole is a huge community of schools, and what happens in one school … is a ripple effect where … other high schools will be affected as well."
Ellie Meldrum, Conner's lacrosse teammate and friend, described the atmosphere at Herriman High as extraordinarily somber.
"Usually it's very rambunctious and crazy and loud after school, and as soon as the bell rang, it was just quiet," Meldrum said. "You could have heard a pin drop. It was just silent."
Contributing: Ben Lockhart