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'She was super loving': Family remembers 15-year-old hit, killed by car in Lehi

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 19:53:55-05

LEHI, Utah — The family of a 15-year-old girl is grieving after she was hit and killed by a car Friday in Lehi.

The family identified the victim as Arely Hernandez-Cuenca, a sophomore at Skyridge High School in Lehi.

"She was always making jokes," said Raquel Vastbinder, Arely's older sister. "She was just super funny, she was super loving, she just literally made our house so light."

Raquel says her younger sister came from Fresno, California to live with her and her husband, Ethan, seven months ago.

Raquel and Ethan say it was Friday, around 4:30 p.m, when Arely and her 13-year old brother, Kevin, walked to the intersection of 3600 West and 2100 North.

"They were at the intersection just standing there waiting for the light to turn green so they could go to Maverik simply to spend $3 to buy candy," Ethan said.

While they were waiting, police say a car driving through the intersection veered off the road and hit them both.

Ethan was on the way to take his friend to the airport and says he was at the intersection just minutes after the incident happened.

"Then it flashed in my head that, 'Holy crap — like, Kevin and Arely, they had just left to go to Maverik,'" he said.

Ethan's worst fears were realized when he says he drove forward and pulled off to the side of the road.

"There was Kevin laying, about, I don't know, 30 to 50 feet from where they were standing on the sidewalk," he said. "Arely was... 25, 30 feet away from him. They were both face down, and it was just a horrific sight to see."

Arely was flown from the scene to Primary Children's Hospital by a medical helicopter.

"Within us getting there and 45 minutes of her going into surgery, because the surgery was supposed to last two to three hours, she was gone," Raquel said.

Raquel says Arely, even at just 15 years old, was already planning for her future.

She says Arely was ready for her junior year, so she could take college courses in high school. The family says she had just gotten her driver's permit after passing the test last week.

It's that bright future that her older sister says she is going to miss the most.

"She was 15 years old. She still had to graduate high school, she had plans to go to college," Raquel said. "It's the future without her is what I'm going to miss."

The family tells FOX 13 News that they plan to have Arely transported back to her hometown of Fresno to be buried there.

They have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the expenses of getting her to California, as well as, the funeral.