Kamas man dies in rollover accident on Mirror Lake Highway
When Troy Coil read about the death of former South Summit High School student and athlete Larry Paul over the weekend, his initial reaction was: "that can’t be right."
In a phone interview with The Park Record, Coil, a former South Summit basketball coach and vice principal, said he had trouble comprehending the amount of time that had passed since he had coached Paul.
"When I saw his age, I thought, ‘he can’t be 28. He’s only about 23 or 24,’" said Coil, athletic director at Desert Hill High School, in St. George. "I can’t believe it. I haven’t seen or talked to him in years and it goes by so fast."
Paul, 28, died Saturday in a one-vehicle accident on Mirror Lake Highway involving a current and a former South Summit High School student. Paul, identified as an occupant in the vehicle, died at the scene.
The driver, Randon Robertson, 20, of Kamas and a 2013 South Summit graduate, is facing preliminary charges of automobile homicide, possession of alcohol by a minor and leaving the scene of an accident. Robertson was flown to Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, for injuries he sustained during the accident, which are not considered to be life-threatening. Robertson remained in custody while at IMC. Tuesday, he was released and transferred to the Summit County Jail. His bail has been set at $20,000.
The passenger, Logan Brown, 18, of Kamas, has been arrested and preliminarily charged with obstruction of justice and possession of alcohol by a minor. He remains in the Summit County Jail and his bail has been set at $2,500.
Coil remembered Paul as a capable and gifted athlete with an infectious smile who contributed on both ends of the court while he was on the basketball team. Coil coached Paul during the 2004-2005 season. He was a 2006 graduate.
"He was kind of an upbeat and fun kid to be around. We enjoyed having him on the team," Coil said. "What I remember about him that was frustrating for his teammates was that he was a naturally talented and physical athlete. I’d make all the other kids lift and when I’d go check on them Larry wouldn’t be lifting very hard. He said he didn’t need to. He was naturally ripped and very athletic."
Paul only played on the team for one season, Coil said, citing his academic eligibility as a factor.
"He was not incredibly driven, in terms of academics, but he was likable and outgoing with people on our team. He was really good defensively and that’s how we used him," Coil said. "But he was a good kid. I liked him."
According to a Utah Highway Patrol press release, Paul had only been in town for a couple of days when the accident occurred.
According to Paul’s Facebook profile, he had been living in the Salt Lake City-area. He listed a West Valley construction company as his current employer.
However, Lisa Larsen, Human Resources manager for Gough Homes, said Paul only worked with the company temporarily, before adding that he was "a good kid and had good ways."
At around 3:52 a.m., Robertson’s silver Nissan Titan was traveling eastbound along Mirror Lake Highway when he reportedly failed to negotiate a curve, causing the car to spin, strike an embankment on the left side of the road and roll several times before eventually coming to a rest on its roof.
Paul, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected and sustained fatal head injuries.
Robertson and Brown initially left the scene, but were later located.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing. However, alcohol and speed and speed are being considered as contributing factors of the accident.
South Summit High School Principal Wade Woolstenhulme said he sympathizes with the families. Woolstenhulme remembered both Paul and Robertson, calling them "pleasant kids and fun to be around."
Brown had recently entered the South Summit school district after moving to Kamas from somewhere the east, Woolstenhulme said.
"I don’t know that much about him, but he seemed to be a nice kid. He was pleasant around school and was doing pretty good," Woolstenhulme said.
Brown’s future status as a student is unclear because the district has never faced a similar situation, Woolstenhulme said.
"We are currently at the end of the quarter so we’ll just seen when he comes back and go from there," he said. "It’s just a bad deal. Our condolences go out to all the families."
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.