Utah woman on LDS mission dies in Oklahoma, family issues statement

Posted at 11:47 AM, Aug 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-23 17:08:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A sister missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died after injuries sustained in a car accident in Tulsa, Okla. Friday.

Nancy Ann Vea, 19, of West Jordan, had been serving a mission in Tulsa since May of 2014.

LDS Church Spokeswoman Jessica Moody issued a statement indicating Vea was critically injured Friday in the automobile accident and was on life support. Officials with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the crash was a three-vehicle accident on a turnpike near Tulsa that left 11 people injured.

Craig Pearce is an LDS Bishop who is acting as a spokesman for the family, and he issued a statement Saturday on behalf of the family.

“As a family, our hearts are broken at the death of our beloved daughter, sister, and granddaughter. Her large family and her many friends will miss Nancy terribly, but we find comfort in knowing that she is in the arms of a loving Savior. Nancy was a happy, good and faithful daughter who had a gift for sharing her love and testimony with others. She told us before her mission that it was her way of giving back to the Savior for the blessings she and her family have received. As her family, we have chosen to donate her organs. We know this is what she would want and we hope that other lives and families will be blessed by her selfless gift. We believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ, and know that we will see Nancy again someday because of His sacrifice. This knowledge gives us hope and great comfort as we mourn her passing and celebrate her life.”

The initial statement from Moody indicated there were five others in the vehicle Vea was riding in, three of whom were missionaries. Officials in Oklahoma said a van was heading south on the Muskogee Turnpike when the driver of the van Vea was in missed an exit and then tried to make an illegal U-turn.

Troopers said that turn caused a chain reaction, and that a VA Hospital bus collided with a tractor trailer that had tried to slow down to avoid hitting the van. The truck hit the van, and Vea was ejected. She was flown to a hospital in critical condition.