SALT LAKE CITY — A large winter storm has contributed to hundreds of crashes along the counties of the Wasatch Front since midnight Monday.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, 458 crashes have been tallied between midnight and 3:30 p.m. In four cases, DPS said, Utah Highway Patrol troopers' vehicles were hit. A Utah Department of Transportation vehicle was also struck.
According to UHP the first trooper-involved incident occurred in Summit County around 8:10 p.m. Sunday evening on State Road 40 near mile marker 11. A trooper was assisting in a crash that occurred in an eastbound lane when a Subaru Outback hit the back of the officer's car while traveling too fast. There were no injuries to the trooper or the driver of the Subaru.
The second accident involving a trooper happened in Utah County around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning. UHP said that a trooper had the far right lane closed down on I-15 northbound while a tow truck was assisting in retrieving a car that had slid off the road. "A pick up truck, did not move over for the trooper and hit the back of his vehicle," UHP wrote. There were no injuries in the incident.
The third incident involving a UHP vehicle happened in Salt Lake County. A trooper had an HOV lane closed at 7400 S. when a Chevy van drove over traffic flares and hit the trooper's car. UHP said the trooper was inside the vehicle during the accident, but no one was injured as a result.
"With these numbers and the stories listed above, we need driver's to slow down, UHP said in a statement. "They need to give themselves more time to get to where they are going."
UHP also gave drivers tips on what to do if they see emergency vehicles on the road during inclement weather:
"If they see emergency vehicles on the road (police, fire, ambulance, emergency management trucks, tow trucks) they need to slow down and move over if they can. If they can't they need to slow and move over in their own lane as much as possible to give us the space we need to work. We also need drivers to move off the freeway if they are involved in a crash. If the damage is minimal to where the vehicles are drivable, and there are no injuries to anyone involved, the Highway Patrol is asking them to move the crash off to the next exit, to a gas station or parking lot, or some place save off the freeway. Once they are there, call 911 and we will send a trooper out to handle the crash. It is much saver for the trooper and the parties involved to deal with a crash off the freeway, then in the lanes where traffic is traveling 60-70 mph pass the crash. It also opens up the lanes so traffic can flow freely, eliminating secondary crashes that are caused from the back up."