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Heroes Walk Among Us

November 18, 2011

Posted in the Bridger Valley Pioneer Newspaper by: VIRGINIA GIORGIS – Pioneer Editor

A cold, snowy day, a mini-van with worn rear tires and ice on the road propelled a Lyman man into the shoes of a hero, although he was unable to save the lives of a mother and her two sons.

Jason Weaver and his wife, Teresa, were on I-80 about 10 miles northeast of Coalville, Utah, around mid-afternoon last Saturday when they came upon a mini-van upside down in the river.

The accident hit the Salt Lake City television newscasts. A mother and her two sons were on their way to Evanston to visit a friend. Bad weather and worn tread on her rear tires caused the mother, Inndia Cherie Powell, 28, of Eagle Mountain, Utah, to lose control of her vehicle. The vehicle slid off the east side of the freeway, hit a fence, rolled down an embankment and ended up upside-down in the river.

Powell and her two sons, three-year-old Alexander and one-year-old Ashton, were all wearing safety restraints.

A semi had stopped and the driver was standing on the riverbank. When Weaver stopped, he went into the extremely cold water to see if he could save the three members of the family. According to Weaver’s grandmother, Coleen Justice of Lyman, the truck driver kept trying to get Weaver to get back out of the cold water, but he wouldn’t.

When Weaver brought the limp bodies of the two small boys to the bank, he told the ambulance crew to “work on them” because they were dealing with hypothermia in addition to being in the water.

The mother was dead at the scene. The two boys were taken to the hospital in Evanston, but medical professionals were unable to resuscitate.

The newscasts focused on the tragedy the Powell family was reeling from. In addition to Saturday’s loss, the family have a seven-year-old boy, Anthony, in the burn center at the University of Utah Hospital. The father, Thomas, was at the burn center when a trooper for the Utah Highway Patrol broke the news to him. 

The Powells would have been married eight years on New Year’s Day. They had kissed goodbye that Saturday morning at the burn center before Inndia left for Evanston. Her plans—to return to the burn center that night following her visit in Evanston.

And, in the background stood Weaver. A man who saw a need, took matters in his own hands, jeopardized his own welfare by climbing 

into the cold, cold water to try to save the lives of people he didn’t even know.

The Pioneer was unable to reach Weaver by press time for his personal comments on the accident and his part.

According to Justice, Weaver’s grandmother, she summed up Weaver’s take control attitude to place himself in the arena with “He’s a veteran.” 

Yes, heroes walk among us. 

For the complete article see the 11-18-2011 issue

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