LAYTON -- The 75-year-old owner of Black Island Farms, known for its Halloween corn mazes, was killed Saturday when his car veered off a state highway, struck a large traffic sign pole and caught fire.
The accident occurred at 8:50 a.m. at 750 North and U.S. 89, police said.
The victim was identified as Charlie Black, a Layton man who ran Black Island Farms in Syracuse with his family.
Although the investigation into what caused the accident continues, it is believed the driver was killed on impact, said Layton Police Sgt. Jeff Roderick.
Witnesses said the car was northbound when, "for some reason, (the driver) veered right," crashing into the traffic pole, Roderick said.
Investigation showed no skid marks, Roderick said.
"It appears he was traveling the speed limit (55 mph) when he left the road," he said.
Police are continuing to investigate to determine if Black may have had a medical condition, Roderick said. Police do not suspect alcohol was involved.
Because of the impact of the crash, police were unable to determine if Black was wearing a seat belt, he said.
The front end of the vehicle, a white Buick Reatta, sustained heavy damage.
"The car did catch on fire," Roderick said. But the victim's body was not burned in the fire, he said.
Police closed a northbound lane of travel for several hours while the accident scene was cleaned up. Roderick said all lanes were reopened by 1 p.m.
Black Island Farms is known for its annual corn maze during Halloween that attracts nearly 60,000 visitors.
Black operated the 250-acre farm for 55 years. His daughter and son-in-law, Brandon and Dorathy Law, have followed in his footsteps as operators of the vegetable farm.
Described as a community leader by his daughter, Black was a promoter of agriculture and advocate for preserving open lands. He was a prominent figure in the ongoing debate between Davis residents and the Utah Department of Transportation regarding the location of the long-planned West Davis Corridor. He firmly opposed plans to build in open lands meant for agriculture.
"He was passionate about passing on his love for farming," Law said. "His loss will be felt throughout the state."