TRAFFIC & ROADS

One killed, two injured, including UHP trooper, in wrong-way crash

Dec 17, 2023, 9:43 AM | Updated: Dec 19, 2023, 11:32 am

OREM — One person is dead and two people are injured — including a Utah Highway Patrol trooper — after a wrong-way collision on Interstate 15 in Orem early Sunday morning.

The driver, in a white sedan, was reported shortly before 2 a.m. according to UHP, and the trooper moved to intercept. The trooper was also injured in the collision, as was a second person in the wrong-way car. The trooper and the passenger of the other car were taken to a hospital, UHP Sgt. Andrew Battenfield said in a press conference.

The collision, this one fatal, is the fifth wrong-way driver reported in the last two weeks UHP said.

Battenfield said the injured trooper was transported to the hospital in “good shape, good spirits,” and is expected to recover. Battenfield said the trooper’s injuries were not life-threatening, but he will need surgery.

The driver who was killed died at the site of the collision. On social media, UHP said the passenger of the wrong-way car was in critical condition.

Two Utah wrong-way drivers caught on dash cam footage 24 hours apart

UHP said the trooper intercepted the wrong-way driver by making a head-on collision minutes after the call, before 2 a.m. The crash was reported on southbound I-15 at milepost 271 in Orem.

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The highway was closed for over eight hours and opened at approximately 11:40 a.m.

Battenfield said that impairment is most often a factor with wrong-way drivers, but it isn’t known if it was a factor in this crash; it is being investigated.

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“I can’t speak for this particular incident, but impairment is a big factor with wrong-way drivers,” he said. “If you’re the public and see one of those like this morning, we had a call by a reporting person who just happened to see that wrong-way driver. It was within minutes that our trooper was there. Probably saved some lives today.”

Because the accident involved a trooper, an investigation is underway led by Utah County’s Officer-Involved Critical Incident team and the Orem Police Department.

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Cox posted on X to recognize the troopers involved in the incident. He also posted photos of the crash scene.

(Gov. Spencer Cox, via X) (Gov. Spencer Cox, via X)

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One killed, two injured, including UHP trooper, in wrong-way crash