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Bear River High School student hit, killed by garbage truck

Sep 5, 2023, 1:10 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 3:50 pm

GARLAND, Utah — A teenage girl and student at Bear River High School was hit and killed by a garbage truck, Box Elder School District says.

The student, 17-year-old SoRaya Niesha Manakaja, junior at Bear River High, was hit at 5:30 a.m. while riding her bike.

“It’s really devastating, especially to a small town like ours,” Tremonton-Garland police Chief Dustin Cordova said. “It really hurts everyone in this community, including our first responders.”

Cordova said Manakaja was riding her bike on 1500 Main Street when a garbage truck started to exit a parking lot and fatally struck her.

“First responders attempted life-saving measures, and there just wasn’t anything they could do at that point,” he said.

Officials say Manakaja was going to meet a friend before heading to Bear River High School for the day.

“Anytime that happens in a community like ours, it affects a lot of people,” said Steve Carlsen, superintendent for the Box Elder School District.

SoRaya Niesha Manakaja (Courtesy: Family Manakaja) SoRaya Niesha Manakaja (Courtesy: Family Manakaja) SoRaya Niesha Manakaja (Courtesy: Family Manakaja) SoRaya Niesha Manakaja (Courtesy: Family Manakaja) SoRaya Niesha Manakaja (Courtesy: Family Manakaja)

He said additional counselors were on staff, ready to help any students or staff who are feeling that loss, including a couple of licensed clinical social workers.

“You know it will put a damper on Bear River High School for a while and gives pause for everyone to have a deeper appreciation for what life is and to really try not to take it for granted,” Carlsen said.

In the meantime, police will look closely at what happened this morning and what went wrong.

“We’re investigating it like we would any other incident, but at this time, we don’t really have any evidence that suggests it’s anything other than a really tragic accident,” Cordova said.

If you wish to support Manakaja’s family, you can donate to their GoFundMe.* 

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


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Bear River High School student hit, killed by garbage truck