Couple, unborn child, 5 dogs killed as truck flies off overpass
A Layton couple, their unborn child and five dogs died Saturday morning after their pickup flew off an overpass and onto the FrontRunner tracks near North Salt Lake.
The Utah Highway Patrol did not disclose the couple's identities on Saturday. A friend of the couple, Tanner Nelson, identified them as Garrett Barker, 22, and Kelcie Halterman, 21.
About 8:30 a.m., the driver of the maroon Dodge Ram lost control on the icy eastbound Interstate 215 overpass where it meets Interstate 15 at mile post 313. The truck went off the right shoulder and flew off the interstate, crashing onto the tracks below, according to UHP.
Barker and Halterman were ejected and died. Five dogs also in the pickup were killed. Rescue crews transported the woman, who was 36 weeks pregnant, to a local hospital, where the baby was delivered and flown to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City. The baby's injuries proved too severe, UHP spokeswoman said Susan Thomas said.
A witness to the crash reported that the driver was going about 65 mph, too fast for the icy conditions, according to UHP.
The crash forced Utah Transit Authority to shuttle FrontRunner riders onto buses between the Salt Lake Central and Woods Cross stations while crews worked to remove the truck from the tracks, said UTA spokesman Marc Bowman. Regular FrontRunner service resumed about noon.
Nelson had known Barker, whom friends called "Gurt," for nearly seven years. He said the couple's baby, a boy, was due next week. Barker and Halterman worked at a Bountiful veterinary clinic and planned to get married sometime in the next year.
"Their big passion was animals, helping dogs and fostering dogs," he said. "Garrett was big-hearted, honest, straightforward. He was a loving, giving person, really, same with Kelsie. They both just gave back to everything and everyone."
Friends of the couple have established a memorial fund to help the Barker and Halterman families with funeral expenses, Nelson said. Contributions can be made at any America First Credit Union to the Gurt and Kel Barker fund.