Family of woman killed in crash while crossing street in West Valley City speaks

Posted at 11:55 AM, Apr 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-11 23:57:46-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A woman is dead after she was hit by a truck while crossing the street in West Valley City late Friday night.

At approximately 11 p.m., West Valley City police responded to the area of 5600 West and 3400 South, where a truck hit a woman crossing the road.

Police say the woman, identified as Nicole DeHerrera, 40, wasn’t in a crosswalk when the accident occurred.

“It appears that this pedestrian was crossing from the west side to the east side of the road here on 5600 West where no crosswalk or anything else that was present would allow for that to occur. Plus, it’s dark out here,” said Lt. Scott Buchanan of the West Valley City Police Department.

Detectives said the driver of the truck wasn’t impaired in any way, but they did smell alcohol on the pedestrian.

Speed didn’t seem to be a factor, but police on scene said they believe it was probably hard for the driver to see the woman crossing in the dark without a crosswalk.

A police officer who happened to be driving by was the first to respond to the scene. DeHerrera was flown to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

"I got a phone call from my dad, and he said she had been in an accident and by the time the conversation was done they had learned that she had passed away already," said Mark Wilhelmsen, the victim's brother.

Witnesses said DeHerrera's belongings could be found scattered all along 5600 West.

"I seen the truck and it was mangled, she had gotten hit and went up in the air and then went back in the ground and she was in bad shape, the cops were here within a minute," said witness Chase Howells.

DeHerrera's family doesn't know what she was doing crossing the street at that location at that time of night.

"It doesn't sound like her to dart out like that, she's got a 9-year-old son and I know she always teaches him to use crosswalks and look both ways but maybe she wasn't practicing what she preached," Wilhelmsen said.

According to witnesses, DeHerrera was dressed in dark camouflage and carrying a beer.

"It was just a tall can of beer and then she had all her backpacks and all that," Howells said.

Police are still investigating whether alcohol or any other factors could have influenced her dangerous decision.

"She could have been running from something or to something, there may have been something on the other side that she was trying to get to," said Lt. Julie Jorgensen of the West Valley City Police Department.

As for the victim's family, they are just trying to focus on the positive impact Nicole had on life.

"She had a tough outer shell but boy when you got to know my sister, she would do anything for anybody that she cared about or loved or came in contact with," Wilhelmsen said.