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Weekend’s road tally: 91 crashes

2 died; not worst toll but not the best, patrol says

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It wasn't the worst holiday weekend the Utah Highway Patrol has seen, but it certainly wasn't the best.

There were 91 accidents on Utah's freeways between Friday morning and Monday night, resulting in two deaths, according to statistics collected by the Department of Public Safety.

That number could go up if a person involved in a serious accident in Beaver County does not survive, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Doug McCleve said. That accident resulted in Darla Paxton being flown by medical helicopter to Salt Lake City in a coma. She remained in critical condition Thursday morning.

"Obviously, if we have one death, that's too many," McCleve said of the weekend accidents.

There were 65 DUI arrests over the holiday weekend. Twelve of the 91 weekend accidents were alcohol-related, McCleve said.

Troopers were busy with speeders, handing out 1,549 speeding citations. As for seat-belt enforcement, 826 citations and 11 warnings were issued for seat-belt violations. Seventy-six citations for child safety restraint violations were passed out in addition to 11 warnings.

"We're still seeing a lot of folks not wearing seat belts and we're still seeing a lot of people not obeying speed limits," McCleve said. "That's too many people driving way too fast."

McCleve said it's also too many people who aren't buckling up. The statistics don't include any citations handed out by local police and sheriff's departments.

Prior to the holiday weekend the highway patrol launched its Buckled or Busted campaign, a weeklong effort of intensive seat belt enforcement.

Early results show more than 7,000 seat-belt citations were handed out statewide during the campaign. McCleve said that number likely will go up as more troopers file their reports.

The majority of speeding tickets, more than 500, handed out during the holiday weekend were in central and southern Utah, McCleve said. Once motorists get into those rural areas they tend to put the pedal to the metal, something that concerns McCleve.

"A lot of that area is two-lane highways where there's not a lot of room for error. It's dangerous," he said.

Salt Lake County had the second-highest number of speeding tickets with 184, McCleve said. But the Wasatch Front was first for seat-belt violations and traffic accidents. McCleve said that only makes sense because it has the highest volume of traffic.

E-MAIL: preavy@desnews.com