Father of NFL player Matt Asiata killed in Utah bus crash

SALT LAKE CITY A spokesman for a Utah bus company has identified the driver killed in a crash Monday as the father of Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata.

Asiata's agent Ken Vierra confirmed the connection Tuesday afternoon. Matt Asiata is a 26-year-old from West Valley City who played football for the University of Utah before joining the NFL.

The Utah Highway Patrol says 53-year-old father Pita Asiata of Bountiful was impaled by a drilling device when his bus crashed into a utility truck on Interstate 80 near the Utah-Nevada border.

Officials say three of the 50 bus passengers were critically injured in the crash, which is under investigation.

A pregnant woman reported feeling labor pains and contractions after the crash, Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said.

She was checked by doctors as a precaution, but Johnson did not have further details on her condition. The woman was not one of the critically injured passengers, he said.

The crash occurred about 6 p.m. Monday on the interstate about 34 miles from the Nevada state line.

Both vehicles were traveling east when the truck slowed to enter a median turnaround and it was struck by the bus. An investigation was continuing

The tour bus had departed from Wendover, Nev., and was headed to Salt Lake City, said Tim Brown, a spokesman for Le Bus transportation company, which operates the tour bus.

Asiata became a driver for the company in February 2009 and since then had only one minor accident when his bus struck a parked car, Brown said.

"Obviously, our first concern is for the family of our bus driver, for all who were injured and their families, and for each of the other passengers on our bus," the company said in a statement.

The company said it was investigating the accident.

Johnson said the highway was closed in both directions for several hours after the crash but all lanes were open Tuesday.

The utility truck was being used by a construction crew working in the area, troopers said.

The truck had hazard lights on and the auger had orange markings, said Brady Warnock, a member of the construction crew who was driving a vehicle in front of the truck.

Warnock told The Deseret News that there was still daylight at the time of the crash.