Saturday, July 4, 2020


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    Fatal crash closes Arches entrance

    Victim a Ugandan human rights activist

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    The person who was killed in a crash near the main entrance to Arches National Park on Saturday, June 13, has been identified as Esther Nakajjigo, 25, a human rights activist from the Republic of Uganda in East-Central Africa.

    A sheriff's vehicle blocks the entrance to Arches National Park following a fatal accident
    A patrol vehicle blocks the entrance to Arches National Park as emergency personnel respond to the scene of a car accident. Photo by Carter Pape

    The park temporarily closed because of the accident.

    National Park Service officials confirmed on Monday, June 15 that someone died in the crash. Grand County Sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Shan Hackwell said it took a few days to notify Nakajjigo’s next of kin.

    The cause remains under investigation, said Hackwell. According to a dispatch call at 1:48 p.m. to Grand County Emergency Medical Services, the accident occurred near the park entrance, involving a gate and a single car with two occupants. The other occupant was not injured.

    Emergency response personnel from the National Park Service, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County EMS, the Moab City Police Department and the Moab Valley Fire Department responded to the scene to assist with the accident. The park reopened several hours later.

    The Park Service said in a social media post Monday, “Our sympathies go out to the family members of the deceased, and our thanks to all agencies that responded to assist with the accident.”

    According to newspaper reports out of Uganda, Nakajjigo was a well-respected activist who campaigned against violence against Ugandan women. She was in Philadelphia when the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in all 50 states and voiced her support for the movement on social media.

    Reporter Carter Pape contributed to this story.

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