Full Recovery Expected For Firefighter Hit While Responding To I-15 Crash

Dec 27, 2018, 10:15 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2018, 2:37 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The condition of a Draper fire battalion chief was upgraded late Thursday after the firefighter was pinned while responding to a crash on southbound I-15, near the Point of the Mountain.

Battalion Chief Bart Vawdrey is expected to make a full recovery.

“Great news!” a tweet from Utah Highway Patrol read. “Our firefighter brother is doing great! Reports are that he doesn’t have any severe injuries. He may be released from the hospital shortly. Thank you to all of Utah’s first responders for their efforts above and beyond the call of duty on this challenging day!”

Maridene Alexander, Draper City Public Relations Officer, said Vawdrey had no broken bones, was stabilized and was up and talking Friday morning.

“We are just elated that he’s doing really great,” Alexander said. “My heart just sank when I heard the news. We all were so frightened. We feel so fortunate that things have turned out in our favor. He’s a tough guy. If anyone could survive this, it would be him. He’s just that type of guy.”

Vawdrey was initially listed in critical condition following the collision.

He was flown to Intermountain Medical Center for treatment.

Lt. Wade Breur said the battalion chief had been responding to a two-car crash and looking to help the occupants of a car that had wound up near the median barrier wall.

“About 10 minutes into the investigation of that crash, another vehicle lost control on the left side, spun and struck the fire person that was on the left side of the freeway here at I-15 Southbound,” Breur said.

Investigators said they planned to screen the case to determine what possible violations should face the driver who lost control.

Breur said troopers were looking into whether speed played a factor in the crash.

Conditions were slick across much of the Salt Lake Valley Thursday night after frigid temperatures froze wet roads.

Troopers had issued multiple public warnings in recent days about driving in winter conditions.

“Our message is always the same — we need people to slow down,” Breur said. “When the weather rolls in, please take the time to just slow down, pay attention to your driving, don’t be distracted and try to reduce your speeds regarding the conditions that are on the roads.”

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Full Recovery Expected For Firefighter Hit While Responding To I-15 Crash