Utah couple sifts through memories after semi collides with Bear Lake property

Jun 3, 2023, 8:25 PM | Updated: Jun 4, 2023, 1:23 am

GARDEN CITY, Utah — Few things are stronger than a first impression, especially when what’s in front of you are pieces of your own past.

“Watch your step, there could be nails,” Ken Maxfield said as he walked up to take a first glimpse of the ruined remains of his family’s detached storage garage at their Bear Lake vacation home.

“Man, all of our bikes are just trashed, they’re all mangled,” he said, as he leaned in for a closer look. Meanwhile, his wife Tracey Maxfield held up a piece of rainbow-colored fabric.

A Utah couple's Bear Lake property was smashed into by a semi truck and trailer. (Ray Boone/KSL TV) A Utah couple's Bear Lake property was smashed into by a semi truck and trailer. (Ray Boone/KSL TV) A Utah couple's Bear Lake property was smashed into by a semi truck and trailer. (Ray Boone/KSL TV) A Utah couple's Bear Lake property was smashed into by a semi truck and trailer. (Ray Boone/KSL TV) Tracey Maxfield gets a hug from husband Ken Maxfield after a semi trailer crashed into their Bear Lake property. (Ray Boone/KSL TV)

“It’s something that I designed, when my kids were little, it’s called a swing safe,” she said with a laugh. “But it survived. It’s all in one piece, and it would keep your kids safe on a swing.”

Decades of memories are here, now strewn around a parking lot. Ken and Tracey Maxfield both said they try to stay positive, but can’t help stopping here and there to reminisce — especially when they look at what’s been knocked completely free of the rubble.

Two injured when semi truck crashes through garages of complex, hits propane tank

“That’s kind of sad to me, because those were my dad’s jetskis and he passed away, and that’s what we got,” Tracey Maxfield said.

They first got the news earlier in the night.

“We were just eating dinner and we got a call about something was happening up here,” Ken Maxfield said.

“Saying that there’d been another accident up here, and that a truck had run through the garages again, and this time it happened to be ours,” Tracey Maxfield said.

A semi truck coming down the hill towards Garden City was unable to stop, plowing right through their storage garage.

“The truck sent a propane tank flying like a missile,” Tracey Maxfield said. “When we were first sent pictures, we could just see the stream of propane.”

To the Maxfields, this couldn’t be more personal.

“My father-in-law Phil Hoyt built this complex in ’95, ’96.” Ken Maxfield said. “It’s kind of just home for us.”

“He was a civil engineer, and bought the property, designed the units and how it was going to be laid out,” Tracey Maxfield said. “We’ve seen it from the ground up. And the ground down, now.”

They were among the first to live here, but someone who wasn’t here on this night is top of mind: Tracey Maxfield’s mom.

“If she was in the bedroom, it would’ve been a different story,” Ken Maxfield said.

“We are talking a propane tank that feeds half of this property,” Tracey Maxfield said. “And it lodged into that building, that’s my mom’s unit. And that was actually in her bedroom closet.”

This isn’t the first time a truck hasn’t been able to stop, nor is it the first time one has smashed into buildings.

“Before this, all the trucks have gone to the right, and I said ‘One of these days, they’re going to go to the left, and this one did,’” Tracey Maxfield said.

“This started about four or five years ago, all of the sudden trucks coming down the hill would lose their brakes,” Ken Maxfield said. He said there’s been an increase in truck traffic. “I think the growth up here has changed. There’s big stores up here now that need provisions.”

The Maxfields plan to rebuild. For now, they’re focused on talking with cleanup crews and sifting through what’s left. But even in the midst of so many memories, they can’t help but consider how this memory could have been a whole lot worse.

“On a busy holiday weekend, there could’ve been 200 people sitting at that intersection,” Ken Maxfield said. “Instead of just picking up brick and debris, we could’ve been picking up bodies.”

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Utah couple sifts through memories after semi collides with Bear Lake property