Semi driver found dead after crashing into Deer Creek Reservoir

May 20, 2024, 8:05 PM | Updated: May 22, 2024, 6:27 pm

CHARLESTON, Wasatch County — The Utah Highway Patrol said the driver of a semitruck was found in Deer Creek Reservoir after the truck crashed and rolled into the reservoir Monday night.

Authorities identified the driver later as Richard Bowman, 62, from Torrey, Utah.

UHP said the semi was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 189 near milepost 24, just south of the Charleston Road turnoff. Bowman lost control and the semitruck jackknifed, according to state troopers. It then hit a guardrail and then rolled into Deer Creek Reservoir.

The cab was completely submerged, and the trailer was partially sticking out of the water.

On Tuesday morning, UHP officials said divers found the Bowman deceased inside the cab and were working to recover his body.

UHP Capt. Scott Robertson said crews had been out overnight since the first call came in around 7 p.m. Monday, but most of the work took place Tuesday after crews determined the truck was venting propane — leading to dangerous conditions for drivers and divers.

Authorities said the water was around 54 degrees, and salvage crews were in place to remove the truck from the reservoir.

Chief Eric Hales with the Wasatch Fire District said the tanker was hauling approximately 12,000 gallons of propane — most of which had vented into the atmosphere.

“(The tanker) did breach as it went through the guard rail,” Hales said. “So, it did get punctured and most of the product released to the atmosphere.”

However, part of the tank was still underwater, raising concerns that raising the tanker from the cold water into the warmer air could lead to more gas venting from the tanker.

Fuel from the cab also leaked into Deer Creek Reservoir. Hales said crews placed booms to contain and isolate the fuel, which was placed Tuesday morning.

Traffic was closed in both directions on U.S. 189 for hours Tuesday.

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Semi driver found dead after crashing into Deer Creek Reservoir