Driving too fast for conditions was a recurring theme on Utah highways Saturday, with dozens of crashes, slide-offs and a few highway closures throughout the northern part of the state in the morning and later in the evening. The Utah Highway Patrol did not report any fatalities as a result of those accidents.
"There's showers everywhere, pretty much," said Chris Young, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
Young was looking at data available just before 9:30 p.m. Parts of the Salt Lake Valley had already seen about 3 or 4 inches of snow by that time with more expected to fall until after midnight. Young said there's a 30 percent chance of a snow/rain mix Sunday in northern Utah, with high temperatures in the low 40s.
But at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday along I-80 near the mouth of Parley's Canyon, there was one accident after another. Snow in the area at the time was heavy, which Young said probably reduced visibility for drivers.
In all, about 21 vehicles were involved, with eight in just one crash, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Blaine Robbins said.
"There were some pretty significant injuries," he said. Two people were struck while standing outside of their vehicles that had already crashed. "It looks like they're going to make it." No one who stayed in their vehicles, Robbins added, was seriously injured.
All lanes of I-80 westbound were closed just after Foothill Drive for a few hours Saturday evening, and only one eastbound lane was open to traffic, with the rest of the highway being reserved for multiple emergency vehicles accessing the accidents.
Parts of interstates 15 and 84 were closed Saturday when early-morning snow followed by fog was to blame for about 48 crashes and slide-offs in Box Elder County near the Utah/Idaho border, Robbins said.
"A lot of it was due to drivers driving too fast for conditions," Robbins said.
Most injuries were minor, except for a 15-year-old in a car that slid under a semi. Robbins said that person was flown to Primary Children's Medical Center.
At least eight semitrailer trucks were involved during accidents that occurred between 6:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. One accident involved six cars and a separate pileup included 10 vehicles.Young said below-freezing temperatures near the Idaho border early Saturday, combined with snow that then evaporated after the sun came up could have caused the fog that people in the area had reported. The only parts of the state that Young called "drier" over the weekend were the northwest and southeast corners.
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