Family urges caution this holiday weekend after crash on Bangerter ended in loved one’s death

Nov 21, 2023, 7:10 PM | Updated: Nov 22, 2023, 10:43 am

WEST JORDAN —Family members on Tuesday remembered a life cut short by a crash while urging drivers to be cautious as they headed out on the road for the holiday weekend.

According to Utah Highway Patrol, two cars were stopped at a red light at 1820 S. in a northbound lane of Bangerter Highway on Nov. 9 when a third car ran into the back of them.

Family members said 68-year-old Gary Sumner was in the first vehicle impacted.

“They just kept going and ran into my dad and he was smashed in between the car in front of him and the car behind him,” daughter Andrea Bai said during an interview with KSL TV.

Sumner crash scene

Gary Sumner was killed in a car crash at 1820 South in a northbound lane of Bangerter Highway on Nov. 9. (KSL TV)

Bai said the family was just grateful Sumner had survived, though it initially appeared he was going to be paralyzed for the rest of his life. His condition worsened, however, in subsequent days and he passed away on Nov. 13.

“I think we had about one hour left as we all gathered and said our goodbyes,” Bai said.

Karen Sumner, Gary’s wife of 46 years, was devastated.

“I have faith that I’m going to see him again but my prayers are still, you know, ‘don’t leave me, don’t, I’m not ready,’ ” she said. “Family and friends have been great support and through the prayers and through their support I feel I’m being carried and one way or another we’ll get through it.”

Family members attended funeral services for Sumner on Monday and remembered him as a hard-working man and author.

“He had a great passion for writing and expressing himself,” Sumner said. “His passion and what came out in his books and what he wanted to put forward is he had a great love for the nation, for the freedoms that our founders put forward and the covenants of our nation.”

Bai said Sumner loved history and was highly interested in World War II and spent a great amount of time interviewing veterans for historical fiction novels.

The family was still looking for a way to publish Sumner’s second book and had set up a GoFundMe* account with that goal.

“It hurts us to know that he was so close to finishing it and so we want to make sure we get it done for him,” Bai said.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden said Tuesday with a crash report that was pending, it remained unclear exactly what factors contributed to the crash.

He said a 35-year-old woman was driving the car that ran into the back of the others and prosecutors would screen the case. Karen Sumner, Gary’s widow, expressed compassion for the driver.

“I don’t feel anger, truly I’m deeply saddened and heartbroken because he was taken early,” Sumner said. “I know that she’s probably suffering as well and the heartache of that, but I don’t want anybody to have to go through that.”

*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 urges caution this holiday weekend after crash on Bangerter ended in loved one’s death