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Two major accidents back up morning commuters

A semitrailer crashed into a cement barrier on I-15, closing down multiple lanes on the freeway and shutting off the I-80 entrance to northbound I-15.
A semitrailer crashed into a cement barrier on I-15, closing down multiple lanes on the freeway and shutting off the I-80 entrance to northbound I-15.
KSL

SALT LAKE CITY — Two big accidents on I-15 Tuesday disrupted Utahns' morning commute.

"(Accidents) have been happening all over," Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.

The first occurred around 1 a.m. Tuesday when a semitrailer carrying two tankers of crude oil was traveling west on I-80, heading to the north I-15 interchange. The driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle while rounding a curve.

"The driver states that he reached down to change the radio station. At that time he drifted off to the right, crashed into the crash attenuator and the barrier," Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Donavan Lucas said.

The trailer in the rear of the truck became detached; after that, "the other trailer rode the barrier for a little ways," he said.

Lucas cautioned drivers to be aware of their timing when performing activities such as changing the radio.

"A curve such as this, it's not a good time to change the radio station. You wait another 10 minutes or five minutes or less to change that thing to a different station."

A second vehicle hit debris from the accident, but no one was injured. The driver of the semitrailer also escaped unscathed.

The semitrailer's fuel was leaking after the accident. Crews had to empty the oil out of the truck before moving it from the area because the truck was too heavy to lift otherwise. "We're worried that if it were to break … it's like a pop can. If you were to twist a pop can," Lucas said.

"We're really lucky with this one as far as if one of those tankers would have burst open we probably would have had to evacuate the area a little bit and, you know, been a bigger mess than what it is," he said.

Just after 9 a.m., another crash occurred on I-15 caused by a northbound sedan.

Traffic was either moving slowly or at a standstill when the man driving the car "took evasive action for some reason," Royce said.

The car hit the inside barrier wall and ricocheted sideways back into traffic where it crashed into a flat bed semi truck that was at a stop, Royce said.

Ground crews took the driver of the sedan, who was critically injured, to a local hospital. The driver of the semi truck was not hurt and the truck only received minor damage.

Police are not sure how fast the sedan was moving when it crashed. They have not yet released the man's age or name.

Traffic was backed up on I-80 and on I-15 northbound through the morning commute Tuesday.

Contributing: Andrew Adams, Haley Smith

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

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