Gusting wind topples trucks on Interstate 80

Mar 2, 2018, 4:50 PM | Updated: 9:26 pm

TOOELE – High winds howled all day Friday along the Wasatch Front. Strong gusts up to 80 mph on Interstate 80, west of Grantsville, blew over four semi-trailer trucks. One of the truck drivers feared he had made his last delivery.

“The first thing that you think is that you’re gonna die,” said Dale Bohan, after his semi was hit with a gust of wind unlike anything he had ever felt.

Bohan hauls dog food for PetCo and was headed back to Reno with an empty trailer around 9 o’clock in the morning. About 20 miles West of Grantsville, he ran into that massive gust. 

“It’s a weird feeling having no control,” he said.  “That wind just picked that truck up and threw me down starting right here,” he said, pointing to a long skid that led off of the interstate.

Bohan fears he might have been killed without his seatbelt and his Bible, which was in the seat right next to him.

“I always keep it close by,” he said. “I said a lot of prayers between that mark and where I ended up.”

The crash broke the windshield in his cab and dumped all of his belonging on the side of the road. Remarkably, none of the drivers were hurt in any of the four crashes.

“I’m all right, said Bohan. “A little panicked.”

He said his greatest fear was that his truck might catch fire. His fuel tanks hold a couple hundred gallons of gasoline.

“I thought that my tanks might blow if I punctured a tank,” but that didn’t happen. 

After the first couple of trucks toppled, Utah Highway Patrol troopers restricted I-80 for empty high-profile vehicles.

“The ones that are empty… there’s just a lot of surface area, a lot of empty space,” said Sgt. Justin Cheney, who oversees a crew of troopers on that stretch of highway. “The wind catches the side of them, and it’s just more than they can take, and they go over.”

Bohan has been driving this route three days a week for five years and said he’s never felt winds this strong.  “I’ve seen a lot of trucks rolled over,” said the truck driver, “But, never a gust like I felt. It was a loss of control I felt.”

Last year, state troopers said they had a day when the wind blew over six trucks.

“Anybody in high vehicles, just be careful,” said Cheney.

Bohan is eager to heed that advice.

“Thank God,” he said. “I’m lucky to be alive, I think, because that scared me.”

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Gusting wind topples trucks on Interstate 80