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Fog causes 9 car pileup, diverts flights at Salt Lake International Airport

Published: Saturday, Jan. 26 2013 1:15 p.m. MST

Dense fog, like this from 2010, led to a multi-vehicle pileup on state Route 189 on Saturday morning.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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DEER CREEK RESERVOIR, WASATCH COUNTY  — A 15-year-old boy suffered a broken leg and a state highway was shut down for several hours after dense fog contributed to a Saturday morning nine vehicle pileup.

The Utah Highway Patrol said a pickup truck was pulling a trailer of snowmobiles on state Route 189 adjacent to Deer Creek Reservoir at 7:20 a.m. when it struck a guard rail in dense fog.

That crash blocked traffic, but another northbound truck was unable to stop in time and slammed into the first pickup truck. A van with a male driver and teenage passenger was able to avoid the crash, but the occupants got out of their vehicle to help.

The highway patrol said the teenager was hit by another oncoming vehicle after he stepped out of his van. Several other vehicles were unable to stop and crashed into the others.

Because of the mess and length of the investigation, both lanes of the highway were closed for several hours. The teenage boy was taken to an area hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The collisions had troopers re-routing traffic to 3000 South in Heber City where it connects with state Route 113.

Fog also caused a number of flights to be cancelled or diverted at the Salt Lake International Airport Saturday morning, but operations returned to normal once the thick fog lifted in the afternoon.

Barbara Gann, airport spokeswoman, said six SkyWest flights were diverted and eight others were cancelled. Such fog-related cancellations or diversions are fairly routine for this time year, she added.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City is reporting that a strong cold front is due to arrive in northwestern Utah on Sunday afternoon, bringing a storm that will soon chase away the fog. The front will be accompanied by rain and snow showers, in addition to thunderstorms, and by early Monday, it will be sweeping through the entire state.

The weather service said widespread accumulations of snow is possible, but the heaviest hit is likely to be in northern Utah. Valleys could see several inches of snow and heavy snow is anticipated to blanket the mountains in northern Utah.

While Monday's commute could join a string of other recent commuter treks that have been less than pleasant, the storm will provide welcome relief to the inversion that has been so entrenched this month.

A series of weaker storms is slated to hit the state next week, keeping the inversion off the doorstep of the Wasatch Front during that time.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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