SR-190 Reopens In Big Cottonwood Canyon After Two-Vehicle Crash

Jan 24, 2021, 4:13 PM | Updated: 11:23 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Two vehicles collided near the S-curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon and were sent into the river below, injuring five people and causing SR-190 to close for several hours.

According to Unified Police, four people sustained minor injuries, while one person had serious injuries.

The “major accident” occurred six miles up the canyon Sunday afternoon.

Thousands of people were stuck for several hours after both directions of SR-190 were closed.

KSL-TV spoke to the driver who captured terrifying video of the crash on his dash cam. He said he drives along the route often and that this particular stretch is usually icy and slick.

In the video, you can see the two vehicles crash, then fall down the steep terrain to the river below.

Around 2:15 p.m., a Unified Fire spokesman said heavy rescue techs were working to extricate rollover victims.

A total of five people were injured in the crash. After they were treated and taken to the hospital — crews got to work on removing the vehicles stuck in the creek.

The canyon stayed shut.

“There are about 250 people waiting for a bus to get down here,” said Chris Faldmo

Hundreds waited for loved ones at the bottom, while thousands were trapped near Brighton and Solitude, as the sun went down.

“We are pushing 4.5 hours,” said Justin Manikowski.

For Justin Manikowski, he was stranded in the car with his girlfriend and three young children. 

“We are looking at brake lights as far as we can see,” he said.

His children were tired, hungry and worried.

“Piper is quiet right now,” he said. “She is scared and concerned.”

The family kept a close eye on traffic cams showing crews clearing the scene.

“The priority should be getting people out of this canyon first and then bringing up the big heavy crew to close the roads to get those stuck vehicles,” said Manikowski. “We already burned through our reserved gas for the last four hours.”

Manikowski and hundreds of other vehicles idled on and off in what he said was a dangerous evening that could have been handled differently.

“This has become an unsafe situation for thousands of people in cars sitting on the roads as temperatures drop,” he said.

Both vehicles involved in the crash were eventually recovered from the river. One car actually required two tow trucks to pull it up.


The decision to remove the vehicles first came from the Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department.

Officials there were apparently anxious to get them out of the water to avoid watershed contamination, but they said the extraction took longer than they anticipated.  

Both directions of SR-190 reopened to traffic just before 7 p.m.

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SR-190 Reopens In Big Cottonwood Canyon After Two-Vehicle Crash