AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah – Emergency crews dedicated a phone Saturday that was recently installed up American Fork Canyon, following the death of a student from BYU who was stuck in an avalanche nearly two years ago.
Her family attended a dedication ceremony for her memorial, which sits next to the new emergency phone.
The parents of Ashleigh Cox were grief stricken Saturday as they spoke about their daughter.
"We understand many people have died here,” Dennis Cox said. “I'm sure that all of them are equally as tragic."
The 21-year-old went snowshoeing with her friends in February 2014 near the Tibble Fork Reservoir. They were yards away from their car, when an avalanche came crashing down on top of her.
“There were her friends digging her out,” said Chief Joseph McRae with the Lone Peak Fire Department. “They did send somebody down the canyon to report a 911 call and report the avalanche. At that time, we responded up the canyon."
Her friends drove to the bottom of the canyon to call 911 because there is no cell phone service in the region.
Ashleigh Cox was buried in the snow for more than 40 minutes before crews were able to find her.
They rushed her to the hospital and she was revived, but she died a short time later.
On Saturday, the city dedicated an emergency phone and plaque near the site where Ashleigh was buried by the avalanche.
“This tragedy just gave us a newfound spirit and energy and passion to make sure this project was finished, and it happened, but it's taken almost two years,” McRae said.
They say they hope the phone and plaque dedicated to Ashleigh saves lives and warns people of dangers in the area.
“This right here is going to eliminate some of that time,” McRae said. “We hope that we can save lives and help people that are injured up here."
Ashleigh Cox’s family says they’re grateful for the community’s gesture and are happy to see something good come out of the tragedy.
“We know she would like at least the tragedy that she went through, which resulted in her death, to have an impact for good, and the fact that so many people in this community were able to come together to make changes to put a phone here, I know would make her very happy,” Dennis Cox said.