A 19-year-old Mormon missionary has died because of injuries suffered during a tragic car accident in Idaho on Sept. 3. The young California man was seriously wounded when a pickup truck struck the side of the vehicle in which he was riding. Official reports indicate that the driver of the car failed to yield at a stop sign, which likely caused the truck to crash into the vehicle. The young man’s missionary companion was driving that car at the time of the wreck.
Authorities say the decedent had only been on his Latter Day Saints’ mission near Pocatello, Idaho, since July. Family members were able to rush to Idaho in order to be with the young man at the time of his death. He suffered traumatic injuries that led to brain death. Physicians declared the man deceased on the evening of Sept. 4.
Even though missionary fatalities are generally rare, 10 have perished in the line of duty so far this year. Still, church administrators say that fatality rates among missionaries are significantly lower than those among the general population of young adults, even when considering the fact that many of the missionaries use bicycles as their primary form of transportation. Church representatives say the LDS community is mourning the loss of the young man, who had promise as an upstanding church member.
It is not yet clear whether the family members of the victim intend to seek financial restitution from the at-fault driver, which would be the other elder in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The pickup truck driver could also be considered at fault, depending on the outcome of the civil case, and even the LDS church could be held liable for the young man’s death. A civil case could provide the family with money to pay for the victim’s expensive medical bills, funeral costs and a variety of other wrongful death claims.