Neighbors Call For Change After Lehi Mailman Hit By Car
LEHI, Utah – Residents say they warned for years about the dangerous location of a mailbox where a mailman was hit by a suspected impaired driver on Tuesday.
“It could have been any one of us,” said Ashley Budd, who lives nearby and witnessed the crash. “It’s traumatic to try and get our mail at this point.”
The crash happened Tuesday afternoon at a community mailbox located on 2300 West just north of Main Street.
The postal worker was standing at the back of his minivan when a sedan veered to the side of the road and hit and pinned the man between the two vehicles, according to Lt. Toby Peterson with the Lehi Police Department.
Peterson said the mail carrier suffered substantial injuries and compound fractures to his legs. He was rushed to Intermountain Medical Center and underwent surgery.
“They’re going to keep him sedated for three days, hoping that the aid they provided yesterday will be substantial enough to save his leg,” Peterson said.
The U.S. Postal Service identified the injured employee as Warren Henrie and said he has worked as a rural mail carrier for nearly two years, according to local spokesperson Margaret Putnam.
“Just seeing the power of the collision I knew that the injuries were very serious,” Budd said. “We’re so sorry that he had to put his life on the line to try and just do his job.”
Police arrested the driver of the sedan, 38-year-old Steven Shaine Smith, on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Peterson said they will be pursuing DUI charges against Smith.
After the crash, neighbors reported seeing Smith throwing something over a fence and into a backyard.
“We found what could be drug paraphernalia on the other side of the fence,” Peterson said.
Neighbors said they tried two years ago to get the mailbox moved off of the busy road.
“It was absolutely preventable and it was simple to do,” said neighbor Kimberly Allgood. “I gave them a strip in my yard — I volunteered that.”
Allgood and Budd said the neighborhood was also prepared to help cover the cost of moving the mailbox but that the initiative stalled.
“I want the mailbox moved this week to somewhere safer,” Allgood said.
Mail carrier Mary Miller was assigned to cover the route on Wednesday, servicing the same stop where her coworker was injured the day before.
“I’m shaking just being here,” Miller said. “I was dreading coming to this stop and I just want to get it done and get off this road.”
Miller said the mailbox is known as a dangerous location and said she agreed with those who live nearby.
“I’d like to see it moved off of this main street into this neighborhood where it’s safer to be standing in the road — not with cars flying past you,” she said.
A regional communications specialist for the USPS said he wasn’t prepared to comment on the location of the mailbox. But did issue a statement from the postal service.
“The safety and well-being of our employees and customers is of the utmost importance to the U.S. Postal Service,” the statement said.
The statement went on to say that no further information could be released because of privacy reasons and the ongoing investigation.
“The U.S. Postal Service and the local Lehi, UT, postal team, join with the employee’s family in wishing him a swift and full recovery,” the statement ended with.
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