Monday, March 3, 2014

Elder Mason Lewis Bailey Struck And Killed By Motorist While Serving LDS Mission In Sweden, Motorist Allegedly Arrested

The first missionary fatality of 2014 has been recorded and is also entered on my partial list of LDS missionaries who've given their lives while on mission service. On March 2nd, 2014, Elder Mason Lewis Bailey, 19, of Richfield, UT, was struck and killed by a motorist while walking along a road with his companion in Stockholm, Sweden. His companion was uninjured. They were on their way to an appointment. Elder Bailey had been assigned to the Sweden Stockholm Mission since 2013. According to the Daily Mail, the Sweden Stockholm Mission is headquartered in the suburb of Vasterhaninge, about 20 miles south of downtown Stockholm.

The Utah People's Post hinted that there might have been "road rage" involved. This may have come from a Swedish-language news story at which was linked in one of the comments posted on KSL. Here's a Google translation of the Swedish-language story, although the article does not explicitly mention the two young men were Mormon missionaries:

A young man was just before 21.30 on Sunday evening hit in the intersection Narvavägen - Hammar Backvägen at Hammarby City Hage.

According to witnesses, the place were two young men walking across a pedestrian crossing at Narva road when a car came driving at high speed from the north on Narvavägen. The two men rushed in opposite directions, one forward in the crosswalk and the other backward, to escape the car.

The driver, in turn, swerved toward the man who ran back and drove at him.

The man was badly damaged and passersby rushed to do CPR, which rescue and paramedics continued when they arrived at the scene before the man was taken by ambulance to hospital.

The driver of the car was taken to the police station for questioning and testing. On Sunday evening there was a suspicion of drograttfylleri [drunk driving under the influence of drugs?]. The rest of the offense is unclear.

A lot of upset people in place testified to VLT about the high speeds at Narvavägen .

- It's 40 kph here , but few running 40 here. It goes in a hundred every night , says a woman at the VLT.

(Updated 23:55) A man was injured very hard when he was hit at high speed by a car on Narvavägen.

A subsequent story indicates the victim died and that the 21-year-old driver of the vehicle has been arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. Investigative work is now continuing in continuing the questioning of the suspect and witnesses, said Jan Lundqvist, Head of Traffic Investigation Section of the Police Department of Västmanland. While the Mormon connection is not explicitly mention, all the other facts match up. A newer story published by KSL Channel 5 on March 4th confirms the Swedish story, and adds that a fund has been set up to help the family pay for Bailey's funeral costs.

The official statement from the LDS Church:

“Elder Mason Lewis Bailey, age 19, from Richfield, Utah, serving in the Sweden Stockholm Mission since July 2013, died after being struck by a vehicle while he and his companion were walking along a road on their way to an appointment. Elder Bailey’s companion was not hit by the car and is uninjured. We are mindful of Elder Bailey’s family and loved ones during this difficult time and unite our faith and prayers with all Church members, who mourn at the death of a missionary.”

According to his profile on, which is still up as of this post, Elder Bailey enjoyed fishing, hunting, riding his dirt bike and his horse, and canyoneering. He also enjoying serving others, and he loved the Church and all the service opportunities available. A newer KSL story published on March 3rd provides even more background on Elder Bailey, and states that Bailey had written home to his family and told them how excited he was and that he had just baptized a woman into the LDS Church. It was the last thing he did before he lost his life.

Public Reaction: A number of anti-Mormon comments appended to the Daily Mail story were strongly downvoted. A couple of comments of particular interest:

Sandra Nordh March 3, 2014 at 10:29 am (KSTU Channel 13):
I’m seriously in shock. I met him yesterday [Mar. 2] in sweden on the bus just a few hours erlier. And i talked to the boys all the way when i was on the bus, and they vere so nice, now i can’t believe that the very kind, funny man died a few hours later. I am so sorry and my prayers go out to his friends and family.

KKunzler posted 6 hours ago (KSL Channel 5):
Quote from my missionary serving in Sweden from his letter today:
"As for the news on Elder Bailey, it hit my companion and I pretty hard this morning when we received a text from President and Syster Newell. It is hard to think that someone could leave this life so quickly but it is also comforting knowing that it was in the Lord's time. Nobody passes away on a mission unless they are truly needed on the other side. My companion and I were talking about it this morning and how Elder Bailey had such a huge impact on so many. Not only the whole mission, but those who he served with individually. He was an inspiring missionary and was placed in this mission to show unto many of us how a missionary should be and how they all should act. Him passing away only makes that stronger."

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