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Families remember teens who died on Utah roads in 2018

Keaton Smith's father spoke at the Memoriam. "The loss of a child is more than any parent should have to bear." Photo: Mary Richards

Parents of Utah teens who died in crashes are sharing their stories to hopefully prevent other tragedies.

Wednesday was the 12th annual Zero Fatalities Teen Memoriam. 27 teens died in crashes in Utah in 2018, either as a driver or a passenger in a car.

Family members spoke beside a long table full of pictures, keepsakes, awards and memories of their loved ones.

Keaton Smith was in a crash while driving to a date with friends in Pleasant Grove.

“Only about 2 miles away from our home,” said his father Kirk Smith. “As a teenager, I think we think we are invincible. Keaton was not wearing his seatbelt the day of the accident.  I don’t know what he was thinking, because unfortunately, I can’t ask him.”

Stacy Stout says another driver was on marijuana and THC when she ran into the truck carrying her 13-year-old son Baylor in Central Utah.

“By the time our family was made aware of the accident, and we were able to make it to the hospital, Baylor had died from his injuries. I will forever remember the words of the Emergency Room Doctor, who said, ‘Your son was in a very serious car accident, and has died,’” said Stacy.  “You never expect it to happen to you.”

Olivia Rodgerson fell asleep while driving to drill team practice on June 15.

“She fought for two months, but after complications with her lungs and no sign of brain activity, she passed on August 22. It would have been her first day as a junior at Hillcrest High School,”said her father Scott Rodgerson between tears.

“Liv’s guilty of what all teenagers are guilty of – thinking they are invincible,” he said.

He says she chose to be an organ donor when she got her driver’s license a month before the crash.

“At 16, so many kids are unaware of what could happen,” he said.

The Memoriam is sponsored by Zero Fatalities, which partners with KSL.