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Vista Heights Middle School teacher killed on his way to work Tuesday

"He made classes fun": Dylan Thornton died in I-15 crash

SARATOGA SPRINGS (ABC4 Utah News) -Students, faculty and parents at Vista Heights Middle School are coping with the sudden loss of teacher Dylan Thornton.

Sadly his teaching career and his life ended Tuesday morning on I-15 in American Fork. According to the Utah Highway Patrol, Mr. Thornton swerved to try to avoid rear ending another vehicle in a chain reaction crash and his car went under a flatbed truck in the next lane.

"He was pronounced dead on scene," UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said.

Vista Heights 8th grader Jayci Kirkham took three of Thornton's classes last year.

"He was nice and he was funny too but he always made sure you understood the work and stuff," Kirkham said. "He'd play like videos and stuff and he'd tell you jokes to make you laugh...He made classes fun. He was awesome. I liked him a lot."

A parent said Thornton was 35 years old and leaves behind a wife and an adopted baby son. The Alpine School District says that Thornton taught History and Social Studies at Vista Heights for the past six years.

"He was beloved by the faculty members, the students,"  David Stephenson of the Alpine School District told ABC4 Utah News. "They loved him and you can tell that he loved them."

The Vista Heights Student Council voted to honor Mr. Thornton's memory with a special dress up day Wednesday.

"If students want to wear their best dress to honor Mr. Thornton tomorrow," Stephenson said. "He was also a Star Wars fan and if anyone wanted to wear some Star Wars gear to school in his honor."

"His whole classroom was filled with Star Wars stuff," Kirkham said. "He liked Yoda a lot and his shelves were all filled Yoda figurines."

Extra counselors were on hand at the school Tuesday for anyone who wanted to discuss what happened. There were also counselors available at nearby Westlake High School where many of Thornton's former students now attend.



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