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Family, friends grieve those killed on Utah highways this weekend

Posted at 8:57 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 14:23:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Relatives and friends of six people are mourning the loss of their loved ones; victims who died on Utah roadways over the weekend.

READ: Utah Highway Patrol reports 5 fatal crashes this weekend, 6 dead

One victim was Angelica Dhondup, a new bride married just hours earlier who was in a car hit by a suspected impaired driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 15 near 1700 South in Salt Lake City.

“And that ended very tragically and horribly as a result of some very, very decisions and bad behavior on the part of the driver,” said Col. Mike Rapich of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Dhondup's family spoke a briefing held by UHP early Monday to discuss the deadly accident and others over the weekend.

“She was the most loving person that we have known,” said Rachel Vigil. "She’s going to be deeply, deeply missed by many.”

READ: Violent crash outside Spanish Fork kills 2

Manaure Gonzalez-Rea, 36, was arrested for allegedly being the driver involved in the accident. Gonzalez-Rea was booked on multiple charges, including driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Dhondup's husband and high school sweetheart, Tenzing, attempted to express his emotions, but could barely speak.

"They took her… and I wanna know why,” said Dhondup.

Marisol Demorst, who was driving with Angelica when the car was hit, explained what happened the night of the accident.

“I know people are normally like, ‘It happened so fast,’ But it literally did, we were just talking and before we realized it it was too late, we were hit,” said Demorst.

Rapich says there have already been 179 fatal crashes in Utah this year, meaning 179 families like Angelica’s are dealing with the pain and agony of losing a loved one.

READ: Man hits teen in SLC with minivan, flees after yelling at injured teen

Many of the accidents were preventable and happened due to speed, reckless or distracted driving and impaired driving.

“Especially when they’re impaired to the point they can’t tell that they’re driving the wrong way on the freeway!" said Rabich. "It’s unacceptable, it’s bad behavior and it has horrible consequences!”

Troopers and relatives of the deceased are pleading with Utah drivers to slow down, don’t drive distracted, fatigued or impaired.