'Horrible circumstances': 6 killed, others seriously injured during deadly weekend on Utah roads

The Utah Highway Patrol is urging drivers to "watch your speed, buckle up, avoid distractions and be safe" after five crashes resulted in six fatalities on Utah highways this weekend.

"These are tragic and have involved horrible circumstances," UHP Col. Michael Rapich tweeted.

Another crash on westbound I-80 near Echo Reservoir left two people in critical condition on Sunday around 4:30 p.m., Park City Fire District said on Facebook.

A pickup truck pulling a camper trailer rolled and both occupants, who were wearing their seatbelts, had to be extricated from the vehicle. One suffered a partial amputation but their injuries were not life-threatening, UHP trooper Colton Freckleton said. Both were transported to a hospital by medical helicopter.

Five fatal crashes have occurred across the state so far this weekend:

  • A female driver died from her injuries on Saturday after she "turned sharply to the right," causing her vehicle to roll multiple times while westbound on I-70 near Salina in Sevier County, according to police. A male passenger was able to get out of the vehicle and eventually get help. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Police are investigating the crash.
  • A motorcyclist died after he went off the road and hit a cable barrier on I-84 on Saturday near Mountain Green in Morgan County while riding with a group of other motorcyclists, police said. The rider, 67, was taken to a hospital where he died after surgery.
  • One person died and another was seriously injured in a crash involving three vehicles in Washington County on Sunday morning after a man fell asleep at the wheel, Utah Highway Patrol said.
  • Two people are dead and two injured after a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon on Saturday night, police said.
  • One woman died shortly after her wedding when a pickup truck traveling the wrong way on I-15 collided with her car early Saturday morning.

Two children also died this weekend, one in a backyard drowning and one in a burn incident. On Thursday, a California man drowned while saving a child swimming in Lake Powell.

Utah Highway Patrol leaders asked for the public's help in reducing the dangers on the state's roads in a press release issued Sunday following the five fatal accidents.

"Each of these crashes remain under investigation, but contributors vary from impaired driving, inattentiveness, and fatigue," UHP officials said. "With just under half of the year to go, Utah has seen a substantial increase in crash fatalities in 2021. These crashes are for the most part preventable if we address the root causes together. They not only affect the friends and families of those involved, they affect all Utahns alike. Please help us do our jobs in serving Utah by doing your part. Please drive alert, focused, and courteous. If you drink, don't drive! Together, we can save lives.

Safety officials refer to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the "100 deadliest days."

Despite a decrease in traffic last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, deaths on state roads increased during that period in 2020. The Associated Press reported Sunday that nationally, the number of highway deaths in 2020 was the greatest in more than a decade even though cars and trucks drove fewer miles during the pandemic and that drivers don't seem to be slowing down in 2021.