An elk was injured on SR 224 in the early hours of Thursday morning, the first day of the Sundance Film Festival. Sheriff’s reports indicate it happened near St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The vehicle left the scene and did not report the collision. The animal was hurt badly and was euthanized by a Utah Highway Patrol officer.
Summit County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Andrew Wright says the dispatch log shows reports of an injured elk on SR 224 near the catholic church trying to cross the highway.
“It looks like a citizen called and said it looked like the elk was trying to crawl with the injured legs and it does look like Park City Police handled that. It was called in by Park City transit so they probably saw that if it was a bus city bus with the flashers on, it's not looking like that it was an actual bus that hit it, they just came across it and called them.”
Utah Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Nick Street said the animal was injured badly and had to be euthanized.
"It was hit by a car near the white barn on 224, you know not able to, it was in some pain and not able to get up and leave the area so it was dispatched by one of our troopers but the person that hit it fled the scene.”
Street says they don’t have any witnesses who saw the driver hit the animal.
It’s actually state property. So if you hit state property, it’s reprotable and it's a crime to leave the scene after you damaged state property.”
KPCW interviewed Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Patricia Cramer earlier this month. She recently finished a collision study for the Utah Department of Transportation. The data shows the area on 224 adjacent to the McPolin Farm is the 5th most dangerous hot spot in the state for vehicle/wildlife collisions. Cramer’s expertise is in transportation ecology and she says it’s critical that communities work with UDOT on long term budget planning to address the most dangerous roads. “One thing we all need to educate ourselves is to how UDOT works. And, then get in early because if you think about it the things that are really important to UDOT engineers are time and money and if for instance state road 224 let's get it in the state transportation improvement program and the long range plan. There's something that both the people and the County Commissioners of Summit County want to have happen.”
The organization Save People Save Wildlife requested signage reminding motorists of frequent wildlife crossings on the stretch of road. The elk herd wintering in the area along with deer, moose and other wildlife cross the busy route daily. UDOT installed the signs last weekend.