2 people avoid serious injury after their vehicle goes off the highway in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Feb 18, 2024, 8:50 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2024, 6:04 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Unified police say two adults avoided serious injury Sunday night after the vehicle they were riding in slid off the highway in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Police say the incident happened around 5 p.m. when the pair were traveling down the canyon, at the top of Seven Turns.

“Apparently, the car in front of them was going a little slower than they liked and using their brakes too much, and they decided to go ahead and pass on a double yellow on an icy road,” said Unified Police Sgt. Ed Twohill.

Chopper 5 got exclusive video footage of the scene.

The jeep then slipped on ice and traveled roughly 100 feet down a “steep cliff,” police told KSL. The people inside both survived.

“Bumps, bruises, a few scrapes,” Twohill said. “This is something that could have very easily turned into a fatality.”

Twohill said they see a lot of crashes and roll-offs in this location, but said officers were surprised to see the driver and passenger walk themselves back up to the road. They said they didn’t go to the hospital and left the scene in another car.

“We’ve had near fatalities here and very serious injuries here throughout the years. They’re extremely lucky,” he said.

Recovering the car is a different story. Police had to close the canyon for part of Sunday night to hoist out the jeep.

“Because of the location, we’re going to need to get a specialized heavy wrecker to pull it out,” Twohill said.

Police coordinated with the Utah Department of Transportation and the resorts to close the canyon.

“The roads were pretty icy earlier today so we made the decision to delay the recovery of the vehicle because it was taking a really, really long time today to get out of the canyon, and we had a bunch of other slide-offs as well,” Twohill said.

They said drivers seem to be in more of a rush on bad weather days.

“Patience. It’s going to be difficult, and understanding that everybody’s not going to have the same driving skills perhaps as you have,” he said.

They said it’s remarkable these two made it out of the jeep alive, without major injuries.

“One of the biggest things why I think they were able to survive is the fact that it was snow and it was able to slow their car down and cushion the landing because there’s just a bunch of rocks and boulders and trees,” Twohill said. “Had this been in the summer, the likelihood of them rolling on down the hill would be really, really significant.”

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2 people avoid serious injury after their vehicle goes off the highway in Little Cottonwood Canyon