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Crashes shut down I-15; impaired driving suspected

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012 9:37 p.m. MST

Two semi crashes on I-15 at mileposts 39 and 40 in Southern Utah.

Utah Highway Patrol,

ENTERPRISE, Washington County — Police suspect an impaired truck driver hauling fuel was involved in a crash that forced the closure of I-15 Wednesday in southern Utah for more than nine hours.

About 2:10 a.m., a Maverik fuel tanker traveling south on I-15 tipped onto its side near the Kolob Canyon interchange. Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said he did not know immediately the cause of the crash, but he said investigators notified him that impaired driving was suspected of being a contributing factor.

The driver was taken to a hospital in St. George with minor injuries. An estimated 4,000 gallons of fuel spilled onto I-15, he said.

The man was cited for driving under the influence and traffic violations then released without being booked into jail, Johnson said Wednesday night. Until lab results are available, police are not releasing what substances appear to have contributed to the man's impairment. The man's name was also not released Wednesday.

About 4:30 a.m., a semitrailer traveling north on I-15 that was stopped in traffic because of the previous accident, was hit from behind by a third semitrailer that did not slow down, Johnson said. The impact from the collision caused the semitrailer that was hit from behind to spill part of its load of refrigerated cucumbers onto the freeway, Johnson said.

The semitrailer driver who ran into the back of the stopped truck suffered minor injuries.

The freeway was shut down in both directions as all accidents were cleared. Northbound traffic was moving through the area again about 8 a.m.

Pat Reavy

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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