DRAPER — A little more than a year ago, two Draper teenagers were killed in a car crash that sent ripples of grief through the community. Now, one of their friends plans a memorial to honor their passion for playing in the mountains.
“I seriously have put my heart and soul into this,” said Sophia Osthed, standing at the Red Rock trailhead in Draper in November.
It’s been a tough year for Osthed. She lost her best friend when Lexie Fenton and Ethan Fraga, both 16, were killed in a rollover crash Nov. 19, 2016, when the car they were riding in rolled on Highland Drive near 12900 South and caught fire. The vehicle was carrying five 16-year-olds from Corner Canyon High School.
Fenton and Fraga were ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene. Three others survived the crash, including Lexie's twin sister, Lauren.
Fenton was like a sister to her, Osthed said. “We didn’t really have to be doing anything specific, just like being with each other, hanging out,” she said.
Lexie and Lauren Fenton introduced Osthed to mountain biking and the Corner Canyon Mountain Biking team. Lexie was a vibrant friend, full of life, she said.
“I want people to remember Lexie the way I remember her," Osthed said.
So, she persevered to get the Lexie and Ethan Trail approved. It's a trail she knows they would have enjoyed.
“There is a spot just right off of it where you can go rock climbing, which was Ethan's favorite thing to do,” Osthed said. “It’s going to be so beautiful.”
It's located just above the neighborhood where Lexie and Ethan lived.
“We wanted to do everything we could to help,” said Bill Becker, executive director of the Corner Canyon Trails Foundation.
The foundation is helping to make Osthed’s vision a reality. They will hire the trail builder and help with fundraising.
“We’ll make sure that the trail is as good as we can get it,” said Becker.
Osthed started a GoFundMe account which is just over halfway to her goal of $12,500.
The trail will run two-thirds of a mile from the Red Potato Trail past Red Rock and join the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which runs for miles. It rolls through rocky, steep terrain with beautiful views of the Salt Lake Valley. It will also host a memorial bench that will be a place where Lexie and Ethan's friends and family members can come for thoughtful moments and to clear their heads.
“You can hike it and hang out there and think about them. Or, you can have fun and go biking,” Osthed said.
A lasting tribute she can enjoy today and later in life.
“It will be something that will be super nice and healing for all of us, not just the families, but the whole community,” Osthed said.