Family remembers two loved ones killed in crash near Kanab

Mar 23, 2023, 10:19 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 2:45 pm

WILLARD, Utah  —Family members on Thursday remembered loved ones killed in a triple-fatal crash in Kane County.

Deanna Steggell, 46, and 16-year-old Ceasar “Toni” Castel were returning home from Mexico when their car was struck Tuesday by another vehicle on SR-89 roughly 22 miles southeast of Kanab, relatives said.

Investigators at the time said the other car, a white Honda, lost control in slushy conditions and struck Steggell’s red Nissan Altima head-on.

The impact left Steggell dead at the scene.

Castel was transported to the hospital where he died of his injuries.

A 64-year-old female passenger of the white Honda was also killed, according to Utah Highway Patrol. She was subsequently identified as Smita Patel of Anaheim, Calif.

3 killed in head-on crash in Kane County

“They didn’t deserve to die,” said Sarah Sykes, Steggell’s daughter, during an interview with KSL 5 Thursday evening. “Toni didn’t have his seatbelt on and had he had his seatbelt on, maybe he could still be here today.”

Family members described Steggell and Castel both as having a great sense of humor.

“Our mom loved to make people laugh but Toni—he would dance for you, he would sing for you,” Sykes said. “If you were having a bad day, he did everything in his power to make you happy.”

Toni, the family said, aspired to be a mechanic and had a bright future ahead of him.

“If you asked him what kind of car and stuff, he would tell you what motor it has inside—any car,” the boy’s father, Paulo Castel, said.

Deanna Steggell, 46, and Ceasar "Toni" Castel,16, were returning home from Mexico when their car was struck Tuesday by another vehicle on SR-89 roughly 22 miles southeast of Kanab. (Steggell family) Deanna Steggell, 46, and Ceasar "Toni" Castel,16, were returning home from Mexico when their car was struck Tuesday by another vehicle on SR-89 roughly 22 miles southeast of Kanab. (Steggell family)

Sykes said Toni had been in the process of building his dream car.

“He had his own logo and he was making his merch,” Sykes reflected. “He was doing everything to build his dream.”

The family offered their condolences to the other family involved and urged others to wear seatbelts and to carry life insurance.

Family members said even organizing a proper funeral for their loved ones had been a struggle.

“We always made these kinds of decisions as a family so it feels like a part of our family is gone now—and they are,” Sykes said. “We want to give our mom and our brother the best services, lay them to rest the way they would have wanted and what they deserve.”

The family set up a memorial account at America First Credit Union under the name Castel and number 9126392 with routing number 324377516.

“It’s hard, it’s very hard,” Sykes said. “Hold your loved ones close right now because you never know when it’s going to happen.”

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Family remembers two loved ones killed in crash near Kanab