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Snow Snarls Utah Highways As Lead-In To Thanksgiving


Officers with the Utah Highway Patrol and Summit County deputies  had their hands full with Wednesday's  snowstorm.

They’re advising drivers to be careful—for your own safety and theirs—through the holiday weekend.  

Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright said that in Summit County alone, there were two near-misses for officers.

He reported that just before 7 a.m. Wednesday, a truck was headed westbound on Interstate 80 between the Tollgate Interchange and Wanship.   It spun out of control, hit the cement barrier and was disabled.

A Summit County deputy helped the truck driver to his patrol vehicle for safety.    At that point, another driver zoomed by,  missed the patrol vehicle, but crashed into the disabled truck.

Ironically, Lt. Wright said the Highway Patrol trooper who responded to that mishap was involved, just an hour and a half later, in an accident.

Lt. Wright said that at about 8:30, the UHP trooper responded to a semi-truck that had left U.S. 40,  a short distance north of Quinn’s Junction.

At that time, another driver, going too fast for conditions, lost control and struck the Highway Patrol vehicle.    The trooper was inside, but luckily was not injured.

It was later determined that the motorist who hit him was traveling on bald tires and didn’t have a valid drivers’ license.

Lt. Wright said that motorists need to slow down, make way for emergency responder vehicles, and certainly make sure you have good tires for winter conditions.      

“And then of course when you see lights on the side of the vehicle--whether it is law enforcement, fire, EMS, a snowplow, a tow truck—people have to slow down and move over.   That’s the law.  It’s designed to make sure that our first responders, those people out helping motorists that have either crashed or broken down or become disabled on the side of the highway.   It’s to protect them.  And unfortunately, we see far too often—we’ve seen in the last several days of the storm that has hit our state.  We’ve had several Highway Patrol troopers hit.  We had that near miss this morning which, in speaking to our deputy, of course, was a very scary experience for him.  Please slow down, please take time getting to where you need to go.  Leave early.    And lastly, if you don’t need to go anywhere, just don’t go.   Stay home when the roads are bad.”

The Utah Highway Patrol has said they’ve responded to 350 crashes state-wide in the past few days. 

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.