By Shannon Speirs
Three Deseret Morning News employees remain hospitalized after a runaway sport-utility vehicle pinned two of them against a wall along Regent Street in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004.
Chuck Wing, assistant photo editor, and Gary McKellar, of the New Media Department, were taken to LDS Hospital in critical condition, said Dennis McKone, a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department.
LDS Hospital said Wing has been upgraded to serious condition.
“At this point, they”re both going to survive,” McKone said. “They do have some serious injuries to their legs.”
The third victim, photographer Keith Johnson, reached into the car after the crash to place it in reverse.
The speed of the vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, jerked Johnson backward and dragged him approximately 15 feet before he fell off. Johnson was taken to University Medical Center in serious condition. His condition has since been upgraded to good.
McKone said the driver of the vehicle was attempting to park. A possible malfunction caused the Jeep to accelerate and jump the curb. The driver of the vehicle was not harmed in the accident.
Employees of the Deseret Morning News were stunned by the accident, which happened about a block from the newspaper”s building.
“When some of your own get hurt that badly it”s like a brick in the face,” said Rick Hall, managing editor of the Deseret Morning News.
Work at the News continued, but there was a prayer vigil among staff members, Hall said. People were talking and grieving, he said.
“Work certainly took a back seat for at least a period of time,” Hall said.
Joel Campbell, a professor in the communications department, is a former employee of the Deseret News. Campbell worked with McKellar for about a year and a half and was acquainted with Wing.
“I”m really saddened. I”m really shocked,” Campbell said. “I”m not quite sure of how to take it all.”