Community mourns two Hunter High students killed in crash
West Valley City • They gathered to remember 16-year-old Jacob Armijo, who was driving the car he and his brother built.
They gathered to remember Avery Bock, the big 16-year-old who loved the Chicago Bears and making people laugh.
And the people most of them teenagers who gathered at Hunter High School on Wednesday night cried and hugged and consoled each other over the death of the two classmates.
"I talked to [Avery] right before the crash," said Paul Perschon, 16, as he stood in a group of Avery's friends. A moment later, Perschon thought of Avery and said: "You never saw that kid frowning."
Avery and Jacob died about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday in a car crash a block from the school. Two other students were in the car. Seventeen-year-old Cassidy Porter was hospitalized in critical condition and 16-year-old Leticia Cordero suffered serious injuries.
Police said a fifth person a woman in the other car was hospitalized in serious condition.
Jacob was driving the Honda Civic with Avery, Cassidy and Leticia in passenger seats. West Valley City police Sgt. Mike Powell said the Civic was travelling north on 5600 West through the intersection with 4100 South when, for unknown reasons, the car veered into the southbound lanes, colliding with a Toyota Corolla.
The driver of the Corolla, 40-year-old Monica Hood, sustained serious injuries and was transported to a hospital by ambulance.
Witnesses say a third vehicle caused the northbound car to swerve out of control.
Larry Kent, who was stopped at the traffic light and heard the impact, said an eyewitness told him the students' car was going through the intersection when another car ran the light and turned in front of the student's vehicle, causing the student to swerve. The witness told Kent the students' car started to spin out of control and collided with the woman's southbound car.
The car that ran the red light apparently did not stop.
Powell would not confirm whether police are looking for a third car.
"We're looking at any and all possibilities," Powell said.
Nick Collins, who works at a nearby Smiths gas booth, said he heard a loud impact and squealing tires. He looked out and "saw the car mangled."
Collins said he called 911 as he ran to the scene. When he arrived, Collins said he saw "two people [lying] limp" in the student's car and knew "it was really bad."
Hunter High student Francisco Andrade said the two victims had just left school to go to lunch. Andrade said he was stopped at the traffic light when he heard a loud bang and saw a big cloud of smoke.
"It didn't look good from the start," he said.
A vigil was held 7 p.m. at Hunter. About 200 students and parents attended.
Patricia Armijo, the 34-year-old sister of the victim, said her father died in 2007 from heart problems. Her father instilled a love of cars into his family and Jacob Armijo and a brother had been building and improving the Civic from new and used parts.
Jacob Armijo had talked of getting work in auto body repair after high school, his sister said. He had also talked about working in graphic design, Patricia Armijo said.
Patricia Armijo wants police to determine whether a third car had a role in the accident.
"I hope this guy comes forward," she said.
Avery inherited his father's love of sports and often wore a Chicago Bears jersey to school, said his aunt, Melissa Jordan. Avery was already as big as some football players. He was 6 feet 3 inches tall with broad shoulders.
"Most people would look at him and be scared," Jordan said, "but the minute he opened his mouth he had the biggest heart."
Chris Kendall, a 17-year-old Hunter student, laughed as he remembered Avery's sense of humor and his impressions of teachers.
"He walked straight out of class and started re-enacting what the teacher was talking about," Kendall said.