For the second time within 24 hours, Utah Highway Patrol troopers had to close parts of I-15 between Orem and Lindon Wednesday to clear wreckage from a half-dozen vehicles - this time from four separate but related accidents.
At approximately 9 a.m., a microburst hailstorm caused a small stretch of southbound I-15, just north of Orem's 1600 North interchange, to become extremely icy, sending three vehicles sliding off the road, UHP Trooper Tracy Simmons said.First, a car driven by Heather Clegg, 29, Logan, slid off the right side of the highway, rolling several times. Just seconds after the first crash, a car driven by Rachel Teay, 23, Provo, slid into the median without incident.
In the most serious of the accidents, a BMW driven by Kimberly Cobb, 31, Orem, skidded left, flying through the median and into northbound traffic, where it was struck by a semi-trailer driven by James Wende, 52, Nobelsville, La.
Cobb's vehicle was beginning to roll when it was struck by the semi, Simmons said.
"Conditions were very hazardous," he said. "In a matter of seconds, a thousand-foot section of the highway was sheer ice."
UHP troopers responded to the scene within minutes, as did Orem fire crews. Cobb, who suffered a gash on her head, was taken to Orem Community Hospital, where she was treated and released Wednesday night. Clegg, who was wearing a seat belt, was treated at the scene. None of the other drivers was injured.
In a separate incident, two northbound vehicles collided while traffic was slowed to allow emergency vehicles on the highway.
One lane on both northbound and southbound I-15 were closed for an hour while emergency crews responded to the accident. Simmons said rubbernecking motorists were responsible for the other accident and proved to be a driving hazard for motorists and officers during the closure.
Tuesday night, law-enforcement agencies closed all three lanes on northbound I-15 while crews cleared wreckage from traffic accidents that sent Robert Hoopiiaina to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City with massive head injuries.
The pickup truck driven by Hoopiiaina, 26, Salt Lake City, was struck by another vehicle and rolled several times, partially ejecting him through the front windshield.
A hospital spokesman said Hoopiiaina was in critical but stable condition Thursday.