Family Of Woman Killed In Suspected DUI Crash: ‘No One Deserves This’
Jan 24, 2019, 8:11 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm
HERRIMAN, Utah – The family of a Herriman woman killed in a crash that police blame on a suspected drunken driver says they will fight for justice.
“I will do whatever it takes to fight for my sister, bring justice for her,” said Pearl Iata’s brother, Frank Maea-Iata.
Pearl Iata, 38, died after the Dodge Caravan minivan she was driving was hit by a stolen GMC pickup truck that ran a red light, according to police. The crash happened around 10:40 a.m., Wednesday, at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Mountain View Highway in South Jordan.
“No one deserves this,” said Maea-Iata, adding that he’s concerned about his parents. “They don’t deserve to put their daughter to the grave.”
According to court documents, the driver of the pickup truck told investigators he consumed six to seven beers prior to the crash.
“It’s being investigated as automobile homicide because of the alcohol factor, in addition to his reckless driving behavior,” said Sgt. Sam Winkler, with the South Jordan Police Department.
After being treated at the hospital, Edilberto Lopez-Ramirez, 23, of Kearns, was booked into jail on investigation of automobile homicide, reckless driving, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, driving on a denied license and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.
“He did admit to taking the truck, buying beer, being involved in hit-and-runs, and running the red light, which did cause the fatal crash,” Winkler said.
Pearl Iata’s family described her as a compassionate daughter and sister who spent her days caring for her parents and older brother who suffer from serious health issues.
“Anything and everything she had, she gave, even if she hardly had anything,” said her sister, Leone Iata Toafe. “Freely and unconditionally, she just gave. That’s just the kind of person that she was.”
“She would take the shirt off her back and give it to anyone that was in need,” Maea-Iata.
The family wants to warn others that life can change in an instant.
“You never know who’s on the road drunk and driving,” Maea-Iata said. “Always keep your loved ones close to you, they are all we got.”