Canyon Rim corner home is no stranger to accidents

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 13 2011 11:07 p.m. MDT

Dwight Bishop surveys the damage to the now overturned jersey barrier following the incident Monday evening involving an off duty Unified Police officer going through the fence, through a jersey barrier and into Bishop's house at the corner of 2700 East and 3300 South in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

CANYON RIM — As Dwight Bishop surveyed his yard Tuesday, he recalled the vehicles that have literally driven through or have had to be towed away from his yard over the years.

"We had a Corvette halfway through that fence. A Mustang took out the fence. I've had minivans in here, small pickups ... had a small car launch over the gutter and end up in the tree," Bishop said.

Bishop has lived in the house at the northwest corner of 2700 East and 3300 South for 34 years. Ever since he's been there, an average of three to five vehicles a year have crashed through his fence and into his yard.

One year, a vehicle crashed through his fence, drove through a foot of snow and ended up in his neighbor's house.

Bishop has had so many accidents end up in his yard, and his fence knocked down so many times, that the Utah Department of Transportation last year installed a concrete jersey barrier on the corner of 3300 South and 2700 East.

When asked how much money he has spent over the past three decades repairing his fence and cementing new posts into the ground, Bishop simply said, "I have no clue."

The worst of all of the accidents occurred Monday night, Bishop said.

A Unified police SUV went out of control after it was allegedly cut off. It hit the concrete jersey barrier and rolled, smashing the corner of Bishop's house while the vehicle was airborne, and then dropping to the ground.

Officer Doug Lambert, an 18-year veteran of the department, was flown to a local hospital. He remained hospitalized Tuesday but was upgraded to serious but stable condition.

Tuesday, insurance assessors were checking Bishop's house, both inside and out. If not for the concrete barrier, Bishop said the vehicle would have ended up inside his house.

Instead, it hit the corner. Damaged siding can be seen high up on the house, and goes all the way to the bottom. Inside, Bishop said his walls were cracked, but the house has been declared structurally sound.

"This is the only one that's hit the house," he said.

Bishop was in the basement when the accident happened and his wife was in the kitchen.

"I heard it and felt it." He said he ran outside to find out what had happened. "I found a Durango on its side in my yard."

Bishop said the majority of accidents that end up in his yard are the result of speed.

"A lot of it happens in the winter. But still a lot happens on dry ground. It's just driving too fast."

He estimated that 90 percent of the accidents that have occurred in his yard have been hit-and-run accidents. The only vehicles he could identify as knocking down his fence "were the ones that couldn't be driven away."

Bishop noted that two telephone poles near the corner had to be moved because they kept getting hit. And when the jersey barrier was initially installed, it was put in the wrong place. Bishop's son, who works for a towing company, had to move it into position.

Statistics kept by the Unified Police Department show there were 39 accidents reported at the intersection of 2700 East and 3300 South over the past five years and an additional five hit-and-run incidents.

Bishop said the last accident that ended up in his yard was nearly a year ago and he thought the jersey barrier would do the trick. Tuesday, there wasn't much he had to say about the latest accident.

"What can you do about it? I keep hoping there won't be a next time."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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