MILLCREEK, Utah -- A vigil was underway Wednesday night for 17-year-old Micaela Sigala, who died Tuesday night after being struck by an SUV in her own backyard.
Her 17-year-old boyfriend was behind the wheel, and while he says it was an accident some of Micaela's family members have doubts.
The crash occurred late Tuesday night in the same yard where Wednesday’s vigil was held. Many people were present to remember the Cottonwood High School student, who was on track to graduate early and wanted to be a dentist. Loved ones say the girl with the warm smile and good grades leaves a hole in her tight-knit family
“She was very loving; we're all gonna miss her,” said TJ Herrera, Micaela’s cousin.
The fatal collision occurred Tuesday sometime after the teen couple had argued.
“The last thing Micaela told her mom was 'I love him, mom'”, said Tiffani Chacon, Micaela's aunt. “She hugged her mom and went outside.”
No one saw exactly what happened next.
“You can see where, the tall grass that I was talking about, that he went in to really fast, and then drove back, and stopped right here on her body,” Chacon explained.
Micaela was killed instantly. Her boyfriend stayed on scene.
“I guess he hurt his shoulder trying to lift up the vehicle off of her,” Chacon said.
But Micaela’s family fears the boy may have hit her on purpose.
“The more I talk to her step siblings and to her mom, I never personally got to meet him, but there was some domestic issue going on and it had gotten worse in the past couple of months,” Chacon said.
On Facebook, Micaela's 17-year-old boyfriend created a post explaining his perspective on what happened and calling the incident a "terrible accident."
He said in part: "TO MICAELA[']S FAMILY I did not kill her, I tried to leave the fight and I didn't see her behind the truck. I wish you guys would understand this was a terrible[,] terrible accident. I'm not a murder[er] or a killer..."
Chacon spoke about the boyfriend's actions.
“In the heat of the moment you do stupid things, and he has to live with what he did, and he has to live with that on his conscience," Chacon said. "We just have to live with not having our niece, our sister, our daughter around."
Micaela's family says they wish they wouldn't have let her go outside alone Tuesday night, and they hope other families can learn from their regret. They said families should be nosy about their children's relationships if that's what it takes to keep them safe.
The Unified Police Department said they are investigating the incident, but no criminal charges have been filed against the teen driver.