WOODS CROSS — A 50-year-old Salt Lake City woman died shortly after crashing head-on into another vehicle Thursday morning.
If the death is determined to be because of the traffic accident, it would mark the 75th fatality on Utah's roads so far this year. Last year, there were 72 fatalities through the end of May.
"We're now trending above last year's fatality numbers, which is a very disturbing trend," said Robert Hull, director of traffic and safety for the Utah Department of Transportation.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up — traditionally one of the deadliest on Utah's freeways — the Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Department of Transportation on Thursday urged motorists to be cautious on the road, especially in construction zones.
There have been two fatalities in construction zones so far in 2012.
On May 18, a 50-year-old Colorado man was killed when his Jeep drifted out of its lane and hit the parked vehicle of a road construction worker. The worker was not in the vehicle at the time. Investigators believe the Colorado man may have suffered a medical condition before crashing.
On May 13, 30-year-old Tanya Cordova was stopped at a temporary traffic signal in a construction zone on the Bangerter Highway near 7800 South when her vehicle was hit from behind by a driver who lost control of his SUV for an unknown reason. Cordova was killed.
Thursday in Orem, UDOT and UHP officials displayed headstones with the words "Zero Fatalities" on them, each representing a person killed in a traffic accident in Utah this year. Two of the headstones had construction vests over them.
As of Thursday, there were at least six major construction projects on Utah's roads.
"We have barriers, our cones and barrels set up, we have narrowed lanes, those are all things people are going to see and we have reduced speed limits in those areas," Hull said.
The latest accident was about 8 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of 500 East and 2600 South in Woods Cross.
Marlene Andrew had drifted out of her lane and made a sudden swerve into oncoming traffic, clipping a vehicle stopped at the intersection waiting to make a turn before hitting an oncoming pickup truck head-on.
Andrew later died at a local hospital.
Witnesses say the woman was slumped over her steering wheel before just before the accident. Woods Cross Police Chief Greg Butler said investigators believe the Andrew may have suffered from a medical condition. An autopsy will determine whether she was killed by the crash or died from the possible medical condition, Butler said.
The UHP plans to put an extra 230 troopers on the road this weekend.
Contributing: Shara Park