Two Washington County deputies injured while assisting on I-15 crash

Apr 23, 2022, 9:43 AM | Updated: 8:42 pm

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — Two Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were injured while assisting Utah Highway Patrol in responding to an accident on I-15, authorities confirm.

The initial accident happened early Saturday morning and was blocking lane three on northbound I-15 near mile marker 38, according to a press release from UHP. The two deputies were in a marked police patrol truck when the driver of that semi slammed into the back of them.

The two were helping Utah Highway Patrol troopers on another crash that had happened at about 3:30am on I-15 near New Harmony at mile marker 38 and were in their patrol vehicle waiting for a tow truck, the release said.

“It was blocked off at some point, but the semi failed to transfer, or move over into the other lane, and collided with them,” Washington County Sgt. Joel Hafoka, said.

Sgt. Hafoka is also the public information officer for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and spent his fair share of time working emergency calls on the sides of roads.

“It is quite dangerous,” he said. “The public doesn’t understand, the traffic, they’re almost like missiles constantly coming down.”

So, when he heard what happened to of his two of his colleagues early Saturday morning, his heart sank.

Pictures of the wrecked patrol truck show the back driver’s side smashed in from the impact.

(Credit: New Harmony Fire Dept) (Credit: New Harmony Fire Dept) (Credit: New Harmony Fire Dept) FILE: (Credit: New Harmony Fire Dept) (Credit: New Harmony Fire Dept)

The Washington County deputies were taken to a nearby hospital, and were alert and speaking with medical workers when ambulances arrived. They were able to go home a little while after.

“We’re very fortunate their injuries weren’t as severe as they could have been based off of a semi-truck hitting them,” Sgt. Hafoka said.

He said it’s a reminder for drivers to always slow down and move over when seeing emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Especially on interstates.

He knows this one was a close call.

“We’re just grateful that our deputies are okay,” he said.

Drowsy/distracted driving is being investigated as the cause of the crash, according to UHP. Details of the original accident are still under investigation.

That one involves the driver of a car hitting another semi-truck, then crossing the median, and ending up on the opposite side of the interstate.

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Two Washington County deputies injured while assisting on I-15 crash