The driver of a subcompact car was killed Thursday morning when his car skidded out of control on an icy overpass into an oncoming garbage truck, which then rolled down an embankment into the Jordan River.
A passenger in the garbage truck suffered minor injuries when he jumped from the garbage truck moments before it hit the water.Salt Lake County Fire Lt. Dennis Steadman said the car was eastbound on 3900 South when it spun out of control on the bridge at 1000 West. Hazardous-materials crews were working to corral between 50 and 100 gallons of diesel fuel and other fluids spilled from the truck.
The names of the 23-year-old man killed and the 23-year-old man injured had not been released as of Thursday morning.
Near-blizzard conditions were blamed for several other accidents reported near the Point of the Mountain early Thursday.
Cars were moving slowly. The freeway was snowpacked and slick, with visibility very poor. One semitrailer was off the southbound lanes of I-15, and the interstate was closed to one southbound lane south of the point while a semi was being pulled back on the freeway.
Fierce crosswinds, swirling snow flurries, limited visibility and ice- and snow-packed roads forced stop-and-go traffic on the southbound single lane of I-15 to congest as far back as the Bluffdale exit. The same weather conditions required northbound motorists on I-15 to slow down to speeds of 30 mph.
Many accidents - as well as stalled and stranded cars - dotted the freeway, a Utah Highway Patrol dispatcher reported. The scene was similar on other highways and streets throughout Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties.
One of the more eye-catching incidents was a car that had smashed past a guard rail on 3900 South overpass above I-15. The back of the car hung precariously over the edge of an embankment, with the driver momentarily trapped inside as the car was kept in balance. The driver subsequently was able to get out of the vehicle, and emergency crews worked to secure the car before it plunged down the embankment.
While many vehicles slid off icy freeways and other highways during the night, it didn't appear there were too many serious injury accidents, local law enforcement agencies said.
At least four people - one of them a Utah Highway Patrol trooper - were injured in Wednesday's accidents and were transported to American Fork Hospital.
"Once again people did not slow down when the weather conditions warranted it," Sgt. David Decker of the Utah Highway Patrol said Wednesday. "When somebody loses it then nobody else can do anything about it."
Decker said about 15 cars and a semitrailer truck were involved in at least five different accidents Wednesday in Utah County. The accident chain began when a car in the northbound lane lost control about one-half mile north of the Alpine exit. The car came to rest hanging over a steep embankment on the east side of the road. By the time UHP troopers arrived at the scene, several more accidents had occurred in both the northbound and southbound lanes.
The accidents and weather conditions closed all lanes of I-15 for more than an hour. Traffic was redirected at the north Lehi exit and at the Utah State Prison exit.
Let it snow
Storm totals ( in inches)
Bountiful bench 6
West Valley City 7