Provo woman identified as driver killed in wrong-way crash; UHP describes heroic actions of troopers
Dec 19, 2023, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:03 pm
(Department of Public Safety)
OREM — Authorities have identified a 26-year-old woman who was killed in a wrong-way crash that critically injured another woman and injured the state trooper whose vehicle collided with the wrong-way car.
The stop was made by Utah Highway Patrol trooper Carlos Rios-Redd. On Sunday, a caller reported a white sedan driving in the wrong direction on Interstate 15 in Orem just before 2 a.m.
Rios-Redd was stationed north of the area. He traveled south on I-15, located the wrong-way driver, and collided with the car, stopping it just before the Orem Center Street exit.
UHP said Rios-Redd made the stop just minutes after the call was received by dispatch, “before any additional information could be gathered or broadcast to him,” UHP said in a statement.
A second trooper, Ben Fagan, then arrived to find Rios-Redd’s patrol car on fire while he was still inside. Fagan broke out the driver-side window in an attempt to remove Rios-Redd from the car. The flames in the car simultaneously were growing so Fagan went back to his vehicle to retrieve a fire extinguisher.
Multiple troopers not far behind then helped to get the car door open and Rios-Redd was later transported to the hospital with “serious but non-life threatening injuries.”
Gov. Spencer Cox later posted that Rios-Redd had suffered a broken femur and ankle.
Hero alert: At 2am dispatch received a wrong-way driver report heading northbound on I-15 in Orem. Troopers Carlos Rios-Redd and Ben Fagan responded without hesitation. At freeway speeds and on a blind dip the car appeared sooner than expected and Trooper Redd took it head on. 1/ pic.twitter.com/04tRpySYTa
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) December 17, 2023
The driver of the white sedan, who died on scene, was identified as Natalie Munchgesang, of Provo.
The passenger who was critically injured was transported to a nearby hospital. UHP said that initially a medical helicopter was requested, but it never landed at the scene. UHP has not provided an update on her injuries.
A GoFundMe* was created for Munchgesang’s family. The message attached to the fundraiser says Munchgesang is survived by her partner and three children, ages 6, 4 and 2.
An investigation by the Utah County Critical Incident Team is still underway.
*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the GoFundMe account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.