One dead after rollover on U.S. 40
February 28, 2012
Editor’s note: A fund has been established by Rocky Mountain Middle School to help pay for Mula Er’s funeral expenses. Donations can be dropped off at Zions Bank in Heber under the Mula Fund. Checks should be made out to Mula Donation. Zions Bank is located at 81 East Center Street, Heber City.
A young girl was killed and her mother critically injured in a one-car rollover on U.S. 40 near Silver Creek Junction Monday afternoon. The two are refugees from Myanmar who live in Heber. Three other passengers in the car were also injured.
The accident occurred at 4 p.m. at the U.S. 40 and Interstate 80 intersection near Silver Creek Junction. According to a press release from the Utah Highway Patrol, five residents of Heber City were in the Saturn sedan when it veered off the road and vaulted into a culvert before rolling once. MuLa Er, of Heber City, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Utah Highway Patrol Corporal Todd Johnson. Hsar Kpaw Doh was taken by AirMed to the University of Utah hospital and remains in critical condition as of Tuesday morning. Me Htwe is also in critical condition at a Salt Lake City hospital. Tar Eh, the driver of the vehicle, is in serious condition and Way T Htoo sustained minor injuries, according to Johnson.
MuLa Er and her mother, Hsar Kpaw Doh, were refugees from Myanmar who had lived in Heber since the summer, according to Jeff Judd, principal at Rocky Mountain Middle School where MuLa Er was an eight grader.
"They were from the Karen Tribe which are enemies of the state in Myanmar," Judd said. "MuLa and her family have lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for 20 years since they cannot go back to their country. There is a large community of Karen people in Salt Lake City and we think they were coming back from visiting them."
Judd added that MuLa Er has a brother in fifth grade and a father who were not involved in the accident. Her family worked at a laundry facility in Heber that provides services for Park City hotels.
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"They literally came with the shirts on their backs a few months ago and were just so grateful to be here," Judd said. "MuLa and the other 30 refugee students we have at our school are phenomenal students who sometimes surpass our other students in language class because they have such a drive to learn."
MuLa Er was described as an eager middle schooler who was enrolled in language acquisition classes.
"This is a real tragedy because they waited so long in the refugee camp to be able to come here and start a new life," Judd said. "Her parents were already involved in the process to become citizens."
The Highway Patrol is still investigating the cause of the accident. Johnson said Tar Eh was the only occupant of the vehicle believed to be wearing a seatbelt.
"As of now, we do not know what all the factors may have been," Johnson said. "We are still trying to determine that and speak with the occupants of the vehicle. We think speed was a contributing factor in the crash but we do not know how fast they were traveling."
U.S. 40 eastbound was closed for three hours following the accident, according to Highway Patrol.
Rocky Mountain Middle School will start a fund to help MuLa Er’s family pay for funeral expenses. For updated information on how to help visit http://www.parkrecord.com.