BEAVER COUNTY – A Utah Department of Transportation employee was transported to the hospital Christmas Day following injuries he sustained when the 60,000-pound snowplow he was operating slid sideways and tipped over near southbound Interstate 15 Manderfield Exit 120.
The fully loaded UDOT truck was pushing snow to the side of the road while exiting the interstate when the tires were caught in the soft dirt to the side of the paved road and flipped over on its side, breaking the windows and injuring the driver, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Gary McInelly said.
“He was transported by ambulance to the Beaver Valley Hospital where he was treated for injuries,” he said. “He had some lacerations and chest injuries.”
The roads were wet, McInelly said, but not badly covered in snow, despite the day of snowfall seen across the state this Christmas.
The injured driver was just ending his shift and preparing to head home when the accident occurred, UDOT Region 4 Public Information Officer Kevin Kitchen said. The truck was carrying a full load of salt, equaling about 8 cubic yards of a salt, he said.
The truck itself was totaled, Kitchen said. It was an older model that would cost an estimated $160,000 to $180,000 for UDOT to replace, which is actually much cheaper than the newer models they have purchased in more recent years, he said. Insurance coverage is expected to cover the cost.
“It’s a dangerous job,” he said. “People don’t realize how many things are going on at once with one of those plows, but, because he has such a load, and that load is a little bit high up, it makes the truck top-heavy.”
It took nearly four hours for Anytime Towing Owner Brian Pender to drag the totaled truck to the road and onto a flat, hard surface, so that it could then be flipped right-side-up.
“It’s just been one of those days for us today,” Pender said. “Just this morning someone stole one of our wreckers – he tried to help someone with it and got it stuck in the process, and that’s how they caught him.”
He was wrapping up that incident when the call came in for help with the UDOT snowplow, he said.
The process was particularly difficult, McInelly said, because the plow on the front of the truck continually got in the way when the Kenworth heavy duty wrecker was pulling the truck upright.
“The plow itself caused quite a problem,” he said. “It kept binding up into the roadway and getting caught while they were tipping it up.”
McInelly said they couldn’t remove the plow from the front of the truck until it was upright. Pender worked the plow truck until it finally flipped onto its tires.
As this report is published, the name of the injured snowplow driver has not been released.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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