Family mourns Marion woman’s death
March 8, 2006
Marion resident Tim Briley suspected something wasn’t right when the couple’s dogs returned to his house Saturday morning without his wife.
Emily Evans Briley’s neighbors in South Summit knew she liked to plow snow with her tractor but last weekend something went terribly wrong.
"The dogs had returned, which was unusual. Because, when she would be out plowing, the dogs would stay with her," Summit County sheriff’s deputy Mike Bergin said. "He started looking for her and didn’t see the tractor, or anything else."
When Briley, 40, found his wife lying unresponsive on the side of a road near their home, he called 911 at 9:48 a.m. The tractor was upright in a nearby ditch, Bergin said.
"It appears that the tractor tire may have run over her," he said, adding that Evans Briley was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family members spoke to The Park Record on Tuesday about their sister, daughter and wife, who had her first child four months ago.
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"She loved kids. I think she had plans for more kids," said Evans Briley’s husband, Tim Briley.
Briley said experiences he has had, as a firefighter in Park City, couldn’t have prepared him for his wife’s death. The man remembered how much she loved photography.
Recalling one of the couple’s recent hikes on Mt. Timpanogos, Briley said Emily took hundreds of photographs.
"We didn’t make it (to the top)," he said, adding that he joked with his wife for "taking pictures of every flower, every bighorn sheep."
Evans Briley’s father Walt Evans, however, says photographs his daughter left behind are her greatest gift to the family.
"[She] loved everyone, that’s why we love [her]," Evans said during an interview at his house in Kamas. "[She] loved sushi, loved to laugh, loved dragonflies and sunflowers she loved the sunset and loved to watch it with Tim."
Meanwhile, investigators say Evans Briley may have become distracted while operating the tractor on Saturday.
"There were no skid marks or anything that would indicate that the tractor was sliding or that she had lost control," said Bergin, who investigated the incident. "It was a tragic accident."
Though they’re still awaiting results from the Office of the Utah Medical Examiner, family members believe Evans Briley had a seizure prior to falling from the tractor. Her father said she had suffered a handful of seizures during her lifetime.
"She appreciated life. How many people just muddle through life?" said 36-year-old Chrissy Goerke, Evans Briley’s sister.
During her time working as a Park City High School volleyball coach, a ski patroller at Deer Valley Resort and at the Park Meadows Country Club, Evans Briley made many friends, said Trisha Hipskind, a friend of the woman for 10 years.
"When Emily walked into a room, you knew, the room just kind of lit up," Hipskind said.
According to Pam Evans, Evans Briley’s mother, since her daughter’s death, she has been touched by calls from friends the family has "not heard from in a long time."
"It’s very special," the mother said, adding, "because losing a child is your worst nightmare."
Evans regretted tearfully that her daughter would no longer be stopping by her office at Park City Public Works so she could kiss her grandson, Griffin Adrian Briley.
"We’d call them ‘drive-bys,’" Pam Evans said. "I could go run out and kiss Griff and go back to work."
But Evans Briley’s father found solace this week in the close relationship he had with his daughter.
"Every day, when we hung up, we said we loved each other. I feel really, really good about telling her that," Walt Evans said.
He read Tuesday from a poem he wrote last week about his daughter:
"You loved wood fires and ranch dressing on your pizza. You loved summer concerts, Alison Krauss and flower gardens," Evans said.
Funeral services for Evans Briley are scheduled at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Snyderville Thursday at 1 p.m. Following the ceremony and cremation, some of Evans Briley’s ashes will be spread around Deer Valley
The family, however, will continue to mourn her death.
"I think we’re moving forward. You do what you can do and then you stop and you grieve," Evans Briley’s mother said. "I think it will be harder later on."