Driver Stranded Above Mudslide In Little Cottonwood Canyon Recounts Ordeal

Aug 9, 2019, 6:07 PM | Updated: 8:16 pm

SANDY, Utah – A day up the canyon to celebrate her mother’s 70th birthday had a dramatic ending after mud and debris came rolling down the mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Jill Caree and her siblings tried to come down the mountain Thursday night. The rest of her family had left earlier in the day.

“By the time we left, it was like sheets of rain coming down,” Caree said. “That’s when the mountain just started sliding off in sheets, onto the car. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

As mud started flowing down the mountain, Caree said they pulled over and stopped alongside the road. Eventually, another driver noticed more debris coming down.

“He just started screaming, ‘Go, go, go!’ and flashing his lights,” Caree recalled. “So we just booked it back up the mountain where we had to stop again, because there were huge logs and boulders all over the road.”

Along with dozens of others, Caree and her brother and sister were taken back up the mountain where they spent the night at Snowbird.

“None of the employees even knew what was going on yet. I showed them pictures, and they were all in shock,” Caree said. “They asked me to send them the videos so they could send them to their families, and let them know they weren’t going to be home.”

Caree said rooms quickly filled up, and some people slept in the lobby. She said employees worked through the night to help as much as they could.

Back down the mountain, workers with the Utah Department of Transportation worked through the night to clear boulders, trees, and mud.

“I have never seen anything like this in my 18 years career,” said Jake Brown, UDOT’s roadway operations manager for the Cottonwood Canyons. “The whole draw up above us, where this equipment is working, just completely emptied out. It’s unbelievable how much material was moved by water.”

Workers allowed people to come down the mountain during a 30-minute window. Caree and her siblings, however, got the news too late and missed that chance. Friday afternoon they were preparing to try and make it down during another opening between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Otherwise, she said, there are worse places to be stranded.

“Everybody’s in high-spirits. It’s been awesome, just bonding with people that were here through the night,” Caree said.

By early Friday evening, UDOT workers were planning to continue clearing the road through the night again. Another half-hour opening was scheduled for 6 a.m. Saturday, with hopes of having the road open by sometime in the afternoon.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

3 sticks of dynamite discovered in salt lake home...
Cary Schwanitz

3 dynamite sticks removed from Salt Lake home

A Salt Lake City homeowner found three sticks of dynamite in his home while he was cleaning out his attic.
15 hours ago
Samantha Hansen poses for a portrait at her home in Herriman, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Hansen, a ...

Utah sisters disagree passionately about new abortion bill

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep Kera Birkeland, a Republican representing Morgan, has introduced HB-297 that she claims addresses the issues of abortion access and services for rape victims in Utah the Deseret News reported Friday. Read the full story here. Her sister, Samantha Hansen, is a rape survivor. She says she will fight the bill […]
15 hours ago
Madison Swenson

Taylorsville man arrested, charged for possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute

A 25-year-old man from Taylorsville has been arrested and charged for possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute following an undercover operation.
15 hours ago
Brenda Emile, 28, and Miller Costello, 30, were each sentenced Friday to life in prison without the...
Kaitlyn Bancroft

Ogden judge sentences ‘monsters’ in brutal child abuse case to life without parole

An Ogden couple was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole in a brutal child abuse murder that the judge called "evil" and "atrocious" and the worst case of torture he has seen.
15 hours ago
Police say Ivy Chase Grant, 26, and Taddy Avalon Jackman, 43, are wanted in connection to a stabbin...
Josh Ellis

SLC police identify two suspects wanted in connection to fatal stabbing

Police are asking for the public's help to locate two men who are wanted in connection to a fatal stabbing.
15 hours ago
Emily Ashcraft

Jury finds Sandy mom guilty of abusing, killing 6-year-old son

A jury found a Sandy mom guilty of reckless child abuse homicide in the death of her 6-year-old son through abuse related to potty-training challenges.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Driver Stranded Above Mudslide In Little Cottonwood Canyon Recounts Ordeal