Car-train collision claims lives of three BYU students

Tanner Davies, left, Brielle Hatch, middle, and Jacob Cottle, right, were traveling home from Mona when a train hit their car. (Photos from GoFundMe and Facebook)

Three BYU students have died after the car they were traveling in was hit by a train Saturday, June 20, near Mona, Utah.

A statement from the Juab County Sheriff’s office said Tanner Davies, from Spanish Fork, died at the scene and public relations student Brielle Hatch, from Gilbert, Arizona, was pronounced dead on arrival at Utah Valley Medical Center.

The driver, Jacob Cottle, from La Plata, Maryland, was hospitalized in critical condition. According to a GoFundMe page for Cottle, he died from his injuries at 12:50 a.m. Wednesday, June 24.

The crash is being investigated by the Juab County Sheriff’s office, Union Pacific Railroad and the Utah Highway Patrol.

According to GoFundMe pages set up by the students’ friends and family, the three were traveling home from a visit to a rope swing in Mona when the accident happened.

The crash was reported on Burraston Road at its intersection with the Union Pacific railroad track, according to the Juab County Sheriff’s office, which said a small passenger vehicle was traveling east on Burraston road and was struck by a Union Pacific train that was traveling north.

Ed Carter, the Director of the BYU School of Communications, said he got to know Hatch when she took his COMMS 300 class during Winter Semester as part of the public relations major. “I was impressed with her faith and testimony as well as her commitment to follow spiritual guidance and become the person both she and Heavenly Father wanted. I have felt a great loss but also strength in knowing of her strong belief in the plan of salvation, a belief that I share.”

Carter said faculty and students have shared many stories with him of their experiences with Hatch. “We remember her fondly, mourn her loss and wish her family comfort and strength.”

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