ROAD TO ZERO

Woman records reckless drivers passing illegally on US Highway 6

Sep 13, 2023, 7:35 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2023, 7:41 am

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — An Emery County woman is sharing her troubling drive on U.S. Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon recently, saying she recorded several cars taking a dangerous risk.

Utah Highway Patrol is warning that the behavior in the video potentially put lives on the line.

Winding through U.S. 6 between Spanish Fork and Price, it’s inevitable that at some point a driver will get stuck behind a semi-truck.

That’s what happened to Karrie Palmer and her husband last Friday. She says they were heading home to Emery County from Salt Lake City, with her husband driving and Palmer riding in the passenger seat.

They came up on a semi just ahead that was driving slower than the speed limit, and apparently, the drivers behind them had lost their patience.

Car in two lanes after illegal pass

Karrie Palmer recorded video of this car as it passed her illegally, straddled two lanes, and hit a curb. (Karrie Palmer)

“It was probably… I want to say five or six cars that illegally passed, and I was like, I’m going to record this,” Palmer said. “If somebody gets hurt, I want them to have video… that these people were being so reckless.”

After watching the initial five or six cars, Palmer pointed her cell phone toward her husband’s side of the vehicle. In the span of the 30-second recording, four more cars zoom on by. The drivers ignore the double yellow line to pass multiple vehicles. One drifts between both oncoming lanes. All drivers did this while going through a curve.

Palmer couldn’t believe they’d be so brazen.

“People are dying all the time on Highway 6 because people aren’t being patient and just taking the time to follow the laws,” she said.

UHP Sergeant Cameron Roden

UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden shook his head after KSL showed him the video from Karrie Palmer. He said many drivers will follow one brazen driver who is breaking the law. (KSL TV)

“It is surprising how much, when one person makes a bad decision, how everyone will follow suit,” said UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden, looking down at Palmer’s video as it played on the cell phone he was holding.

However, not surprising considering how many fatal crashes they’ve responded to on U.S. 6, even recently.

“A lot of those occur from head-on type collisions because the roadways can be very windy, hard to see around blind corners,” he said.

He explained that crossing the double yellow to pass is a traffic violation that can come with a citation.

Roden said they have enforcement projects from time to time that allow more troopers to work in the canyon against this type of bad driving behavior, but that UHP would like to do it more often.

While not all crashes come from blatantly disregarding the law, like what Palmer captured, Roden urged people to stay behind semi-trucks and not pass on a double yellow line.

“There are areas throughout the canyon that are designed for people to pass properly,” he said.

And just because another driver takes that reckless risk, he said that doesn’t mean it’s OK to go for it.

“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t follow the leader in these types of circumstances,” he said.

Palmer wonders what more could help drivers obey.

“We need barriers. We need four lanes the whole way. I mean, we need something,” she expressed. “That road is deadly.”

But at the very least, she’s now sharing her video as a warning.

“I just hope that people become aware,” she said. “If you decide to cross over that line and you kill somebody, you have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

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Woman records reckless drivers passing illegally on US Highway 6