Associated Press
Crews work to clear the scene of a three-vehicle accident in Spanish Fork Canyon on Friday morning.

SPANISH FORK — A crash involving a car, pickup and semitrailer shut down traffic Friday morning on a Utah highway with a nefarious rap as one of America's deadliest roads.

No one was seriously injured in the wreck, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden. Only two people involved were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Roden said inclement weather conditions were a factor in the crash.

"The roads were a little wet and a little slushy," he said. But excessive speed played its leading role too.

The accident happened around 7:20 a.m. near Milepost 200 on U.S. 6, Roden said. A blue Honda Civic — traveling eastbound in Spanish Fork Canyon — slid into a concrete barrier, crossed the median and made "slight contact" with a westbound semitrailer.

The semitrailer then went careening into the other lane and slammed head-on into a Ford F-150 with an empty trailer in tow.

Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Department of Transportation closed the roadway until around 10:30 a.m. Roden said they were concerned about the stability of the concrete barrier because it was above a set of railroad tracks. They cleared the scene a short time later.

U.S. 6 first earned an undesired reputation about 15 years ago when it appeared on a list of the deadliest roads in American printed in Reader's Digest, UDOT spokesman Nile Easton explained. Since then, UDOT has invested $120 million to improve the roadway. The agency has rarely seen a year with fatalities in the double digits since that time.

"Of course, any fatality is more than we want," Easton said.

UDOT has two projects in the works to widen the roadway, he added.

In 2005, 334 accidents were reported on U.S. 6 between Moark Junction and I-70, said Easton. Compared with other Utah roadways, U.S. 6 ranks sixth for number of fatalities in 2007 — I-15 holds the title of deadliest Utah roadway with 44 reported fatalities.

Though U.S. 6 is a sinuous roadway that winds through Spanish Fork Canyon, Easton said the No. 1 contributor to serious crashes is speed, not terrain or road type.

"We see the most fatalities on roads where motorists tend to drive faster," he said.

And sometimes people get too comfortable driving on U.S. 6, Roden said.

"People tend to drive too fast in that canyon," he said.

Roden agreed, saying the driver of the Civic was issued a citation for driving too fast.

"Even if it's warming up, we can't forget our driving skills," he said.


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