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Father seeks answers after daughter killed in crash that may have been caused by police pursuit

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 20:23:42-04

SANTAQUIN, Utah - Balloons, flowers, and pictures of 17-year-old Rita Dolph mark the spot in Santaquin where she lost her life in a crash that her father, Rod Dolph, says didn't need to happen.

“No one wants that knock on their door,” said Dolph.

Police stood at Dolph's door Saturday night with news no father can imagine getting.

“You can't imagine. I hear that from everybody that they can't imagine. It's a feeling I wouldn't wish on anybody on this planet,” said Dolph.

Police told him that his daughter had been in an accident, just a few blocks away from her home.

“She was driving to Spanish Fork to meet with some friends,” said Dolph.

Authorities say a 17-year-old boy driving a stolen truck was being chased by a Utah County Sheriff's Deputy, when he ran a red light, crashing right into the driver's side of Rita’s car.

“They told me that the speeds were over 90 mph on the freeway,” said Dolph.

Salem police say the Dodge truck was reported missing out of Payson and they had briefly pursued the teen but called off the chase.

“It was fast enough for them to stop. They deemed it was a danger to the public, apparently,” said Dolph.

However, a few minutes later, a Utah County Sheriff's Deputy spotted the truck and started to chase him again.

“A decision was made by an officer to reinstitute the pursuit. I want to know why he thought that was necessary,” said Dolph.

This decision made by the deputy may have cost Rita her life.

“She was pretty rare. She could make friends with anybody. Always in good humor, joking around,” said Dolph.

“Everyone tells me how sorry they are. Not nearly as bad as I am,” he added.

The Utah County Sheriff`s office is investigating the pursuit and UHP is investigating the crash. The sheriff`s department tells Fox13 they're still investigating and not ready to talk about the circumstances at this time.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Rita's family to aid in funeral costs and expenses. It can be found here.