A Utah family is mourning the deaths of five relatives — including three children — who were among eight people killed in a series of crashes involving 22 vehicles during a sandstorm in Utah.
Kortni Sawyer, 30, her 6-year-old son Riggins, 2-year-old daughter Franki, brother-in-law Race Sawyer, 37, and nephew Ryder, 12, were killed in the Sunday pileup on Interstate 15 in Millard County, according to a GoFundMe campaign.
Mason Sawyer, Kortni’s husband, had been waiting for his family to arrive in St. George before tragedy struck.
Kortni was described on the fundraising site as “a loving wife, mother, daughter, and sister among her family, as well as a dedicated nurse.”
It said “Riggs had recently graduated preschool, and loved basketball, superheroes, and Legos,” and that “Franki was 2 years old, spunky, and known as ‘Daddy’s Princess’, her brothers’ shadow, and ‘Mom’s mini-me.’”
The couple’s 4-year-old son Blue survived the accident, which claimed the lives of Mason’s older brother and his 12-year-old son.
“Race was a dedicated and loving husband and father, an incredible athlete, loved to play games, and preferred Snickers for breakfast and burgers for dinner,” the page states.
Mason said on Facebook, where he is pictured with his injured son, that the family has received an outpouring of support.
“Thank you for the love and support. Here is Blue, he is a trooper. Some cuts and a broken hand. We hope to leave the hospital soon,” the grieving dad wrote.
The GoFundMe page said, “Ryder was his mother’s greatest teacher, always found the good in everything, and was humbly yet fiercely competitive in everything he did.”
Race, a former boxer and mixed martial artist, reportedly worked in the health care field and leaves behind a wife, Keshia, a son, Ran, and a daughter, Faith, according to FOX 13.
Phil Gephardt, the owner of Factum Mixed Martial Arts & CrossFit in Sandy, Utah, where Race trained and competed, told FOX13: “The two most important things to Race was absolutely family and just probably making memories with that family.”
He added: “He was a sportsman, he was a family man, he was just a great guy.”
Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Public Safety has identified two other dead victims as Richard Lorenzon, 51, and his wife, Maricela Lorenzon, 47, of Salt Lake City.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family says the couple had four daughters, ages 7, 9, 21 and 26.
The eighth victim was identified as 15-year-old Cameron Valentine of Yuma, Arizona, whose mother was injured in the wreck, according to authorities and a GoFundMe for the family.