Morgan resident Natalie Quinlan, 40, had recently obtained her motorcycle driver’s license and her own motorcycle. She had always wanted her own motorcycle, and had been working up the gumption and skill to ride on Interstate 84.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, she had finally “conquered her fear of the interstate,” said her best friend of 11 years, Jeannie Gamble. A member of the Morgan County Search and Rescue, Quinlan had rolled into Old Farm Market at the base of Trappers Loop and told some friends of her recent I-84 ride.
“She was like a little kid,” said Gamble. “She was excited and so happy that day.”
Then, she continued northbound on Trappers Loop.
At 2:48 p.m., Quinlan found herself on near mile marker 5. Gamble assumes Quinlan wanted to go a little quicker on the straightaway and pushed the brake instead of the gas.
Police reports from the Utah Highway Patrol indicate that Quinlan struck the guardrail in a one-vehicle accident that caused her death from extensive internal injuries. There were no skid marks and she was travelling at only 30 miles per hour.
A passerby with previous medical experience was the first to stop at the accident scene, Morgan County Chief Deputy Ken Edwards said. Morgan emergency crews joined in CPR efforts, but she was pronounced dead on the scene from major internal injuries.
She leaves behind her husband, Martin, another search and rescue member, as well as a 3-year-old daughter Sydney.
After marrying Martin in May of 2007 and moving to Morgan, Salt Lake native Quinlan became very passionate about search and rescue efforts in the county. She obtained training to become an advanced diver and trained her own search dog, Kia. She went on several missions over the years, including assisting in the search for Susan Powell.
Quinlan had enjoyed pedal biking for the last 30 years, involving herself in many races and “every 100-miler in the area,” Gamble said.
Her fellow search and rescue members served as pall bearers for her Wednesday funeral service.