Vigil held for man killed in wrong-way crash involving driver who may have been intoxicated

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jul 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-13 09:29:18-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- A vigil was held Sunday night at Taylorsville Park to remember a West Jordan man who was killed during a head on collision in Fillmore on Wednesday.

Larry Martin was driving along 1-15 with two passengers, when a teenager in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, going the wrong way, ran right into him.

Kaela Hernandez, 27, of America Fork, was in the back seat of Martin's car. She was also killed.

Martin's brother, Joseph Martin, was in the passenger seat. He survived the crash and is recovering in the hospital.

The driver of the Jeep, 18-year-old Jessie Wilkerson, of St. George, later died in the hospital. Police said they received reports of a Jeep driving erratically prior to the crash. They also found a bottle of alcohol behind the driver' seat--a few signs of possible intoxication.

"You still have a lot of anger and a lot of questions as to why," said Anthony Gale, a friend who attended the vigil.

Friends said the hardest part about accepting Martin's death is knowing that it could have easily been prevented.

"You know what, this is a huge group of people and this is just one accident, you get these accidents and they happen daily so this is compounded by hundreds, thousands of families a year," said Skyler Talbot, another friend who attended.

Talbot said the purpose of the vigil wasn't just to remember their friends, but also remind others of the dangers of drinking and driving.

"I know that I'll certainly be more of an advocate against drinking and driving, not that I haven't in the past, but until you are affected personally by it I think it definitely hits home and you want to do more to educate others on it," Talbot said.

Almost everyone at the vigil wore T-shirts with Martin's picture on them. There was also a candlelight vigil and a balloon release in his memory.

"He was just amazing, he was the most genuine, caring person that I ever met my entire life, he just had the hugest heart," said Élan Matotek.

Whether or not Wilkerson was intoxicated is still under investigation. That information will be released as part of the autopsy report.