Schools reeling after crash kills 4 Utah County teens

By Laura Hancock and Jeffrey P. Haney
Deseret News staff writers

SPANISH FORK One minute, laughing with friends, the crisp autumn air whipping through open car windows.

The next, violently thrown into stillness.

On a two-lane road flanked by hay fields and pastures, four teenagers, one of whom was pregnant, died Monday after suffering injuries in a 7 p.m. car crash.

Killed were:

Allisha Lance, 17, Spanish Fork.

Heather Lance, 18, Eureka.

Casey Dunnivan, 15, Spanish Fork.

Cherokee Simmons 15, Goshen.

Students turned quiet at Landmark and Payson high schools as word rolled through hallways about the accident on U.S. 6 between Goshen and Genola.

Three of the four attended Nebo District schools.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Doug McCleve said a preliminary investigation indicates the car was roaring down the road more than 100 mph, started swerving, over-corrected, crossed the center line and smashed into a pickup truck.

McCleve said the 15-year-old boy may have been driving the brown 1990 Geo Prism.

Three of the teens were tossed from the car after impact. The one who was not ejected was wearing a seat belt.

All four died at the scene, McCleve said.

The man driving the Ford F-250, Steven Dellows, 31, Ferron, Emery County, was transported to Mountain View Hospital in Payson. He is in critical condition.

Payson Police Chief Dee Rowland said three Payson officers were called to the hospital at 11 p.m. Monday to calm an escalating fight between family members of the teenagers.

No arrests were made.

Police, who aren't sure where the four were heading at the time of the crash, did not find drugs or alcohol in the car.

Officials at Nebo School District sent crisis counselors to the two high schools. At both buildings students sat in stunned silence, tears rolling freely down many cheeks.

"This morning (students) were a little upset," said Lana Hiskey, the district spokeswoman. "The faculty also were notified so they could deal with anything in their classes."

Dunnivan attended Payson High, where two extra counselors were sent to help students coping with his death.

At Landmark, students sat in a circle in the lobby, recalling time spent with Allisha Lance and Cherokee Simmons. Crisis counselors and a psychologist were at the school to help.

Heather Lance, Allisha's sister, was seven months pregnant.

"They were both just real happy, positive kids. They had a lot of friends here," Landmark Principal Joe Kelly said. "My kids are very upset. We are just letting them grieve a little bit today."