Students remember Payson teen killed in car accident

Posted at 2:57 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 21:25:35-04

SALEM, Utah – Students at Salem Hills High School are feeling the loss of their friend and classmate who lost her life in a car accident over the weekend.

On Monday, they dressed in their Sunday best to honor Erica Montague -- a small way to remember the big influence she’s been in their lives.

“Erica was one of my friends and I just want to show support to her and her family,” said Kylie Reynolds, Salem High School student.

Erica was on the sophomore softball team, school choir and loved Jimmy Buffet.

“Erica was funny. Good person to be around, always happy. Able to lift everybody’s spirits up,” said Kaiden Shelley, Salem Hills High student.

Those struggling to cope with her death leaned on crisis counselors Monday.

“I just felt very heartbroken about it because it’s just a very hard thing for our school to go through,” said Katie Newman, fellow classmate.

“It's tough on these kids because we don't get answers to things all the time,” said Scott Haney.

Haney knew Erica all of her life as a teacher, next door neighbor and bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“She's a little red-haired girl about 5-foot-1, and I've seen her like out on the field a few times or in my class, she's as intense as they come. But on the other side of things, she's as nice as they come,” Haney said.

Meantime, Payson Police are looking into the exact cause of the Saturday’s crash.

“It was a very tragic accident,” said Lt. Bill Wright with the Payson Police Department.

Erica was riding in a car that evening near 1600 West Utah Avenue, when police say the vehicle turned too fast. The car turned sideways and was hit by another vehicle.

“Speed was a factor,” Wright said.

The driver, a 16-year-old boy from Salem is in the hospital with critical injuries. Three people in the other vehicle suffered minor injuries.

A viewing will take place for Erica Friday, from 6-8 p.m. at the Payson Stake Center followed by a memorial service Saturday at 11 a.m.