An unlicensed driver has been arrested following an Orem crash last week that killed two BYU students.
According to Orem police, the 20-year old suspect was driving a Jeep Cherokee south on State Street late Oct. 15, traveling 68 mph in a 40 mph zone. When the light at 400 South turned yellow, he accelerated to 73 mph. At the same time, a Chevrolet Malibu traveling in the opposite direction was turning left onto 400 South.
According to witnesses, the Jeep was trying to make it through the intersection before the light turned red. The Jeep slowed slightly, but slammed into the Malibu. The Malibu’s driver was injured, and two passengers inside — BYU students Hailee York, 21, of Lehi, and Ashlyn Hanzon, 21, of Pearland, Texas — were killed.
Both women killed were seniors at the university, a spokesperson confirmed. York was majoring in counseling psychology and special education. Hanzon, who recently studied abroad in London, was majoring in exercise science and wellness.
According to a probable cause statement, police obtained a warrant for the Jeep’s event data recorder. The device indicated that the Jeep was traveling 68 mph shortly before the crash and accelerated to 73 mph when the light turned yellow. The suspect slowed to 67 mph about 0.5 seconds before the collision, the device indicated.
Surveillance video from nearby businesses also showed the Jeep traveling “at a high rate of speed,” according to police.
The suspect was taken to Timpanogos Regional Hospital to be treated for his injuries. According to police, he attempted to flee when officers went to his home to arrest him on Wednesday.
He was booked into the Utah County jail for investigation of negligent homicide, negligent collision, driving without a license, speeding and reckless driving. He is being held without bail.
At BYU, York had formed a group of friends “that were second to none,” which included Hanzon, according to a personal obituary.
In the obituary, York’s family described her as a “peacemaker” who “tried to make sure each member of her family and friend groups were included and loved.” She was a talented musician and athlete who “loved adventure” and was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving her faith community in many capacities.
A family member has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help with funeral costs for York.
Hanzon had owned her own photography and videography business for five years, according to her LinkedIn profile. On the website for her business, she said, “Ever since I was young I’ve had a camera in my hand and it’s something I love so much.”
She also enjoyed karaoke, boating, hiking, cycling, traveling, cooking and baking, her LinkedIn profile said.
In a Facebook post, a friend of both York and Hanzon who also attended BYU said, “These two gals got me through my freshman year and were there for me through the hardest moments and the loudest laughs.”
— Tribune reporter Kolbie Peterson contributed to this story. The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name suspects until they have been charged with a crime.