I-215 was closed for nearly two hours Wednesday, after 20 vehicles collided in a chain-reaction accident that started during a sudden cloudburst.
The chain of accidents began about 1:30 p.m., when two westbound cars collided on I-215 near 2500 East after one or both of them began to hydroplane and slide during the downpour, Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Verdi White II, said.As vehicles swerved and maneuvered to avoid the initial crash, five additional accidents occurred involving 12 other cars and six trucks. The vehicles rear-ended or sideswiped each other as they slid across the pavement.
"They were scattered all over the freeway," White said. "We were fortunate that no one was seriously injured."
Many people involved in the pileup were treated for minor injuries at the scene and released. None of the victims were transported to a hospital, he said.
The National Weather Service said the burst of showers dropped about a quarter-inch of rain in a matter of minutes.
Many of the cars had to be towed from the scene.
During the cleanup following the accident, another car narrowly missed troopers and highway workers as it blew through police barricades at a high rate of speed. The barricades had been set up to divert traffic off the freeway, White said.
The driver of that car was later arrested for DUI and may have been under the influence of prescription medication, he said.
Drivers should remember to slow down during wet weather as roads become slippery, especially as this is some of the first rain of the season.
"We get used to driving in good weather, and we forget," White said. "Pretty soon we'll have to be thinking about winter driving, and if we don't respond by slowing down, the likelihood that we might hydroplane and crash is high."