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Utah family loses five, including 3 children, in pileup crash caused by sandstorm

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Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 15:22:22-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Five members of one extended family, including three children, were among eight people killed in a pileup accident on I-15 in Utah on Sunday.

Kortni Sawyer of St. George, Utah, along with her two children, son Riggins and daughter Franki, died in the crash, according to a GoFundMe page created by family and friends. In addition, Kortni's brother-in-law, Race Sawyer from Lehi, and his 12-year-old son, Rider, were also killed.

Race Sawyer was driving the vehicle that all five were traveling in when the accident occurred.

Richard and Maricela Lorenzon of Salt Lake City were also killed in the crash. A GoFundMe set up for the Lorenzon family says the couple had four daughters, aged 7, 9, 21 and 26.

The eighth victim was identified as 15-year-old Cameron Valentine of Yuma, Arizona. His mother was injured in the crash, according to a GoFundMe for the family, and the family's vehicle and camping trailer were a total loss.

Numerous accidents were spurred by a blinding dust storm that blew across the highway Sunday afternoon in Millard County, causing a chain reaction. Multiple people are reportedly in critical condition following the incidents.

The GoFundMe for the Sawyer family says Kortni was a nurse, while 6-year-old Riggins "had recently graduated preschool, and loved basketball, superheroes, and legos. Franki was 2-years-old, spunky, and known as 'Daddy's Princess,' her brothers' shadow, and 'Mom's mini-me.'"

Kortni Sawyer is survived by her husband, Mason, and son, Blue.

The post added that Race Sawyer, 37, was a "dedicated and loving husband and father, an incredible athlete, loved to play games and preferred Snickers for breakfast and burgers for dinner." Rider was described as "his mother's greatest teacher, always found the good in everything, and was humbly yet fiercely competitive in everything he did."

Race Sawyer trained and fought at Factum Mixed Martial Arts & CrossFit in Sandy. Gym owner Phil Gephardt remembered him as a dedicated family man.

"The two most important things to Race was absolutely family and just probably making memories with that family," Gephardt said.

He said Sawyer would treat MMA like others would treat rec league basketball; he would take fights against any contender willing to fight him.

"He was a sportsman, he was a family man, he was just a great guy," Gephardt said.

Race and Rider Sawyer are survived by Race's wife, Keshia, and daughter and sister, Faith, along with son and brother, Ran.

"There is so much more that can be said about these incredible people," the GoFundMe read.

Nets On Fire, a basketball facility in St. George where Mason Sawyer works, is also hosting a fundraising event on Saturday.

This story was originally published by Jeff Tavss and Brian Schnee on Scripps station KSTU in Salt Lake City.