Snowy blast piles up crashes

Nephi man killed; many accidents blamed on speed

Published: Sunday, Dec. 2 2007 12:06 a.m. MST

Lynn Anderson gets outnumbered in a snowball fight with his grandkids at the Christmas Parade in Provo Saturday.

Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

The heavy blast of snow that blanketed Utah Friday night and Saturday snarled traffic and caused repeated car wrecks, including one fatality.

"We probably have 20 holding right now in Salt Lake County," Cori Start, an agent with the Department of Public Safety, said Saturday morning. "We have everything from slide-offs to injury accidents."

About 5-6 inches of snow fell overnight along the Wasatch Front, and the mountains and ski resort areas got more, according to the National Weather Service.

"The snowplows got a little caught off guard — the snow is supposed to be down south," Start said. "Just be glad it's not a work day." She said the department called out extra troopers to help.

More than 200 auto accidents were reported Saturday in Salt Lake County — 16 with driver or passenger injuries, Start said. Another 34 vehicles slid off snowy and slushy roads, she said.

In Utah County, there were 52 accidents — three with injuries — and 33 slide-offs, Start said.

No roads were closed as a result of snowstorm, but U.S. 6 in Utah County was restricted to one line, and chains were required for semitrailers.

Many accidents were the result of people driving too fast.

"They slow down, but they still go too fast," Start said. "Speed is a factor in almost everything. Equipment is also a factor. People are not prepared, they've got bald tires."

A crash about 8:30 p.m. Friday claimed Shane Hall, 24, of Nephi, who was a passenger in a car traveling north on state Route 198 between Payson and Santaquin.

The Department of Public Safety said the steering locked up on a pickup truck traveling south on the same two-lane road. The truck went over the center line and crashed head-on into the car.

Shane Hall was pronounced dead at the scene. His brother, Shawn Hall, 20, who was driving, was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

The truck driver had minor injuries.

The department said no alcohol or drugs were involved, and the occupants of the car were not wearing seat belts.

Salt Lake City Police Lt. LaMar Ewell said an accident at 900 East and 200 South in which a car hit a light pole caused a power outage from approximately 900 East to 200 to 400 South. The driver was injured.

It was an otherwise quiet morning for the Salt Lake police on Saturday, he said.

"We haven't had anything really serious — it's mostly slide-in fender benders. It's been pretty constant all through the morning hours," Ewell said.

Snowfall at the Salt Lake City International Airport measured 5 inches at 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow totals along the Wasatch Front and Salt Lake Valley ranged between 5-7 inches, with the benches and ski resorts seeing double-digit-inch totals. The Alta and Brighton ski areas both had 15 inches of new snow, Snowbird got 14 inches and Sundance had 12 inches.

In the southern Utah mountains, Brian Head — at 10,000 feet — had recorded a whopping 20 inches as of 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.


Contributing: Jared Page


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com

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