DRAPER — A semitractor-trailer that rolled and two Utah Highway Patrol vehicles being hit made for an exceptionally busy Wednesday morning for troopers.
No one was injured in any of those incidents. But UHP Sgt. Nick Street said he wishes he could find a way to stop bad driving behaviors during snowy commutes.
"I wish there was a way to curb the behavior because it's disconcerting to be out there working and keep your head on a swivel all the time," he said.
Sometime between midnight and 1 a.m., a trooper had stopped to help a motorist involved in a crash on I-15 near 800 North. The roads were snowpacked at the time, Street said. The trooper was pulled over on the shoulder, when a driver in an SUV failed to stay in his lane and crashed into the back of the police cruiser, Street said. The trooper was sitting in the vehicle at the time.
About 7:40 a.m., a driver traveling too fast lost control on the northbound 11400 South off-ramp from I-15 and also T-boned a police cruiser that was assisting another motorist.
UHP trooper Jim Miller said if he had been standing closer to his car, he could have been hit as well.
He said the driver was going too fast and had bald tires in the snowy conditions.
He heard the car approaching before it crashed.
"Sometimes you hear the screech and sometimes you don't," Miller said.
Street said it was frustrating that UHP cars keep getting hit.
"You've got the long straightaway of the off-ramp. It seemed like this person had all the time in the world to make a decision to slow down and avoid the police cars that were down at the bottom of the ramp and still failed to make the correct decision," he said.
UHP Capt. Jeff Nigbur says he's been hit twice in his career and almost every trooper has been hit by a car at one point or another.
"You almost have to have eyes in the back of your head and you have to have this 'spidey sense' when you're out there," Nigbur said.
"Everybody has got somewhere to go, but I want my troopers to get home safe at night. That's the biggest thing for me," he added.1 comment on this story
Also on Wednesday, about 5:30 a.m., a semi hauling furniture and other items heading south rolled near 13200 South and blocked the four right lanes. All traffic was slowly getting around the crash in the HOV lane.
The cause of the crash, or if the weather was a factor, was not immediately known.
Troopers had investigated about 75 "reportable crashes statewide" in the morning, according to a tweet from the UHP.
"This does not include slide-offs, nonreportable crashes and crashes where drivers simply exchanged insurance info without an officer present," the UHP stated.
Contributing: Alex Cabrero