Family remembers woman killed in hit-and-run while police search for driver

Oct 17, 2023, 9:50 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2023, 6:31 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The family of a Utah woman killed while crossing Redwood Road last week remembers her as a free spirit and they hope police find the person who hit her.

“Vanessa was very mystical, I guess is the best word,” said Johna Smith, Vanessa David’s cousin. She said Vanessa and her two brothers had a rough life growing up and lost both parents when they were young.

She said Vanessa’s older brother, Christopher, who, like Vanessa, had fallen victim to addiction and homelessness, was killed last year in Las Vegas. The man accused of killing him is awaiting his murder trial. She says the news of Vanessa’s death is devastating.

“My grandmother asked me eight years ago, (you need) to find these kids and bring them back home,” Smith said it was her late grandmother’s dying wish.

She says she reconnected with the David siblings at that time, but couldn’t help their struggles with addiction. Now she remembers both as loving and pure in heart.

“They always saw life as beautiful and nature as beautiful and that every person mattered,” Smith said. Now, despite her cousin’s homelessness, she hopes police track down the person who hit her.

Police have released new information in the case, including a description of the car and license plate. On Tuesday night, officers located the brown 2008 Honda Civic and impounded it for evidence. However, the driver has not been located.

Smith said she worried about her cousin every day and is now haunted by not knowing if the person responsible could have saved Vanessa.

“If, God forbid, this person might have stopped, could he have saved her?” Smith said. “We don’t know.”

She said she’s thankful for the belief that the siblings are together again, safe, and with their parents. Still, she wishes she could have done more.

“We want people to start being aware of how addiction and how homelessness, can destroy, and you can see in our case, a family, how much it can destroy a family.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe* to help with burial costs.

*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 advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Family remembers woman killed in hit-and-run while police search for driver