Car Slides Into River Up Big Cottonwood Canyon

Nov 27, 2019, 4:57 PM | Updated: 10:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A vehicle that didn’t have the proper tires for winter weather slid off the road and into a river in Big Cottonwood Canyon, according to Unified firefighters and police who responded.

The very place many want to be on a day like Wednesday proved to also be among the most treacherous for travel.

“It’s pretty dangerous,” said Unified Police Sergeant Ed Twohill. “The corners are sharp. The roads are wet. It doesn’t take much to start slipping and sliding around. And then you’re into the side of the mountain or off to the side in the water.”

Live: Big Cottonwood Canyon Crash

LIVE: KSL 5 is at the scene of a crash in Big Cottonwood Canyon where a car slid off the road and into the river.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Twohill said they received a 911 call just after 4 p.m. Wednesday. A man was driving his elderly parents up the canyon when he slid off the edge of the road and tumbled down an embankment and into the river below.

Even the newer four-wheel drive full-size SUV the three were in proved to be no match for the narrow, slick roads of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

“He’s in a Tahoe with four-wheel drive, not the right tires, and he still slid off,” Twohill said. “Super lucky no one was in the back of it because they would be dead.”

The Traction Law went into effect Wednesday morning for both Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, as it does each time UDOT or law enforcement agencies determine the road conditions are severe enough for it. According to the law, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles must have a minimum of M/S or M+S tires.

3PMSF tires and traction devices like chains and snow sock are also acceptable for two-wheel drive vehicles.

“We’ve had restrictions in all day because we’ve had that big storm that’s been coming in,” Twohill said.

After the crash, the driver’s father managed to get out by himself. The driver stayed behind with his mother until firefighters arrived to pull her out and take her to the hospital.

“They had to cut some of the doors off to even get her out,” Twohill said. “So she was very very lucky.”

With more snow in the forecast, the rescue now serves as another reminder for drivers to watch for warnings and be prepared before heading out the door.

“This will be the result if you’re not careful or you don’t have the right equipment.”

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Car Slides Into River Up Big Cottonwood Canyon