LOCAL NEWS

Kearns Head Start closed after suspected drunk driver crashes through building

Jan 3, 2023, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:33 pm

KEARNS, UtahA suspected drunk driver was caught on security footage launching their car from a hillside and crashing into the wall of a children’s community center. The Kearns Early Childhood Head Start program is now trying to figure out how to move forward because the building may not be safe to let children back inside.

The surveillance footage shows the driver barreling off of 4820 West on New Year’s Eve, after Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler said the car ran another vehicle off the road. The sedan sails over the hill, ripping through a fence, with sparks flying.

It then continues forward and slams straight through the cinderblock wall of the Head Start building.

A few moments later, the back driver side window rolls down, and three people struggle to climb out through the window. A man pulls out a woman — the suspected driver — and she flops to the ground.

She gets up barefoot, stumbles over to witnesses who have gathered in the snowy, wet parking lot, and asks for a ride.

“This could have been tragic,” Cutler said.

Cutler said all three people ended up taking off and fleeing the scene.

(Utah Community Action)

“Watching that video, it is frightening to think of what could have happened and the speed that person was traveling at, coming up over that hill, through that parking lot, through a cinderblock wall,” she said.

Also frightening because the car drove straight into a building that houses a children’s program. It was unoccupied at the time.

Janell Cerva, chief impact and strategy officer for Utah Community Action — which runs Head Start programs in Salt Lake and Tooele counties — explained that the building has been unoccupied since, because they are waiting on a structural engineer to assess if the building is safe.

Walking around the damaged room Tuesday, she pointed to what used to be a bathroom wall.

“This wall here, this is the big concern,” she said. “Is this damaging the structure, compromising the structure of the building?”

(Lauren Steinbrecher/KSL TV)

The Kearns Early Childhood Head Start Center serves families with children ages newborn to 5 years old, Cerva explained, who are experiencing poverty. The families rely on the center for free childcare, meals, and other crucial resources to survive.

Right now, all their services at that location are closed for the time being, and the families have to figure out something else.

“It’s already challenging coming right out of the holidays, and obviously, this just adds, just makes it that much more difficult,” she said. “Especially when you’re really kind of on the margin and just barely getting by, it really is a tough time.”

She explained that case managers are working with those families virtually as they wait to see if the building is structurally sound.

Even if it is, Cerva said the classroom the car crashed into, which served infants to children 3 years old, will remain closed until repairs are made. They are planning to relocate that classroom to a different location.

Cutler said police were able to find the driver the night of the crash, thanks to a West Valley City K-9 tracking her scent. Iris DeLeon Gutierrez, 21, was suspected of DUI and will likely face charges. They are still looking for the two men, who could also face charges of fleeing the scene of an accident.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: Box Elder School District offices. (BESD)...
Josh Ellis

Box Elder County schools move online due to snow, extreme cold

The Box Elder School District announced classes will move online Monday due to drifting snow that has closed roads throughout the county.
7 hours ago
(KSL Weather)...
Josh Ellis

Coldest temperature in the US Monday recorded in Peter Sinks, Utah

A blast of arctic air brought sub-zero temperatures to parts of northern Utah, with Peter Sinks being named the coldest place in the contiguous United States on Monday.
7 hours ago
Rose Tonti, 101,Mary Kawakami, 110, Hal Edison, 103, and King Green, 100. (KSL-TV)...
Annie Knox and Ashley Moser

Four Utah centenarians share advice collected over more than 100 years

An immigrant, a World War II veteran, an avid outdoorsman and an entrepreneur. They all spoke with KSL recently, but that’s not all they have in common. Each is over 100 years old. And with all that life experience, they have some insight to share.
1 day ago
The deceased Dwight Davis. 43, after a car crashed into a trailer fatally hitting him Friday night....
Michael Locklear

Central Utah family urges drivers to slow down after truck hit their brother

A Sevier County family remembers the brother and father they lost after a car hit a trailer into him Friday night.
1 day ago
The tanker roll over on Soldier Summit. (Courtesy: Brad Brockbank)...
Michael Houck

UHP reports over 150 crashes for Sunday

Utah Highway Patrol and Utah's Department of Transportation had a busy day on Sunday as they responded to 162 crashes as of 8:10 p.m.
1 day ago
Outside of the Cache County School District building. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck

High winds forces late start for northern Utah school districts

Multiple northern Utah school districts are announcing late starts for Monday due to the high and cold winds hitting areas in Utah.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Kearns Head Start closed after suspected drunk driver crashes through building