ECHO, Utah — Officials have released the name of a woman who died Monday in a hunting accident in Summit County.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office gave an update Tuesday afternoon, identifying the victim as 58-year-old Lynette Billeter of Sandy. A GoFundMe that has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses says she was a teacher in the Canyons School District for "many years." She was a para-educator at Canyons Transition Academy, according to the school's website.
The school district says counseling services have been offered to Billeter's coworkers at CTA, which provides vocational training to adults with disabilities. Parents of students in the program were notified Monday afternoon, and there will be support offered to students who need it after hearing about her passing.
"Ms. Billeter was a wonderful person and helped our students so much as they progressed in their educational journeys," CTA program administrator Nate Edvalson wrote in an email to students' families.
Billeter was hunting elk with two family members in the Echo Canyon area around 11 a.m. when the accident occurred, according to the sheriff's office. They were about 10 miles east of Echo Reservoir, about a mile south of I-80. It was reportedly the last day of a "provisional hunt."
Officials said the group had stopped hunting and Billeter was sitting in a stationary side-by-side UTV when a rifle went off. A bullet struck her in the pelvic/waist area.
She lost consciousness shortly after sheriff's deputies arrived, then was pronounced dead at the scene despite medical first responders performing life-saving measures for some time. A helicopter was dispatched but did not end up transporting her.
An investigation is still underway to determine exactly what caused the rifle to go off. An autopsy will also be conducted. Officials said they do not expect any criminal charges as this is being considered a "tragic hunting accident."
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reminds hunters — and anyone else handling firearms — of the four main gun safety principles, as taught in the DWR's hunter education classes:
- Always treat every firearm like it’s loaded.
- Always point the gun muzzle in a safe direction.
- Know your target and what’s beyond it, and around it, including if there are roads, houses, animals,etc. (Always make sure you have a safe backstop!)
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.