Crash involving 30 vehicles kills one

Mar 26, 2018, 1:55 PM | Updated: 11:43 pm

ECHO JUNCTION – One person was killed in a massive vehicle pileup on I-80 westbound in Echo Junction near mile marker 172 on Monday.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Harley Watkins said about 7:20 a.m. snow started falling as Utah Department of Transportation crews were putting down sand and salt.

Lt. Watkins said the road was a sheet of ice and drivers were going too fast for the conditions. This caused a chain reaction crash involving 30 vehicles, including 15 tractor trailers.

“It was a very significant crash. In 18 years, this is one of the worst I’ve seen,” said Lt. Watkins.

Twelve commercial vehicles and two passenger cars were involved in the first crash, and then there were four additional crashes adding to the pileup.

Lt. Watkins said this is why he and other officials preach about not speeding.

“In the winter months, when you’re driving in these rural remote areas, we do need to slow down. That’s it. It’s got to be an individual decision,” he said.

Utah Highway Patrol has not released the identity of the person killed in the crash. Lt. Watkins said others suffered only bumps and bruises. One driver, whose car flipped and was crushed, managed to crawl out and hitch a ride to a local hospital. Another driver said it was the scariest moment of her life.

Lt. Watkins said a school bus picked stranded people up and took them to the LDS church in Coalville while police continued their investigation. He said services would be available for all those involved.

About 24 UHP troopers responded to the pile-up, as well as Summit County Sheriff’s Office officials and State Bureau of Investigation agents. Lt. Watkins says all of the troopers from his territory responded. Plus, they had help from Vernal, Utah, Salt Lake, Weber Counties, as well as troopers with the State Capitol. He said it was a great joint effort.

I-80 eastbound reopened to one lane after about three hours. Westbound remains closed. Troopers are rerouting people onto the Echo Junction Frontage Road.

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Crash involving 30 vehicles kills one