Man transported to hospital after 60,000 pound snowplow turns over on I-15

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.”

A 60,000 pound UDOT snowplow truck flipped over on Interstate 15 near southbound Exit 120, Manderfield, Utah, Dec. 24, 2014 | Photo by Corbin Wade, KCSG Television and St. George News
A 60,000 pound UDOT snowplow truck flipped over on Interstate 15 near southbound Exit 120, Manderfield, Utah, Dec. 24, 2014 | Photo by Corbin Wade, KCSG Television and St. George News

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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12 Comments

  • getting flooded December 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Good thing this wasn’t in Washington city cause if it was mike shaw would have to order a new fleet of fords

    • slim December 26, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Your comment is totally irrelevant to this story. Warshington City doesn’t own any snow plows.

  • Koolaid December 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

    At least he wasn’t over 2X the DUI limit and driving with his kids and weapons when he wrecked the taxpayer provided vehicle.

  • Doug December 26, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I plowed snow for local gov’t in NH for many years, we plowed paved roads and dirt roads in dump trucks with loaded sanders, front roll over plows and side wing plows. We all saw some pretty hairy situations at times, it’s just part of the job. Things happen and they happen in the blink of an eye. It was one of the best jobs I have ever worked, loved it except for the lack of sleep.
    I hope this driver recovers quickly.

  • Evil twins mommy December 26, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Washington County has never owned a snowplow and doesn’t own any now. I’m not sure what his comment was to point out

    • spectator in the cheap seats December 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Washington County does own trucks with snow plows & sanders . Not to insult anyone posting here … But at least post a comment without making your self look silly . I am not too sure about the local communities and if they do own trucks with snowplows . It was nice a year ago, when we all experienced 12-14 inches of snow here in Washington County & UDOT plowed & sanded many city streets of four different communities , since the communities are not equipped for winter snow removal. The costs of the services were not passed on to the cities either . Maybe everyone who likes to gripe about something like this should maybe go and visit the folks at the Washington County Road Dept. or UDOT . We are grateful that there are people who will WORK on a Christmas Eve & Christmas Day to keep the highways safe for all of us , while we all travel to families homes to celebrate the Holiday . May everyone posting on this news outlet , have a wonderful holiday & a even better New Year .

  • M and M cookies December 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Wow it’s a rough job.. I had a friend who died when the ski slop grader tipped over and crushed him… Bad weather is coming and these people. Have a rough job and should be appreciated.

  • My Evil Twin December 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    It is a rough job. You are exempt from DOT rules about hours of service, and when you are needed, you work. And you may get sent a couple of hundred miles, or more, from your “home base.”
    You are often driving in “white out” conditions, where visibility is practically non-existent. There is always the inherent danger of driving on rain/snow/ice slicked roads. In some cases, shelf roads where a mistake can lead to drops of hundreds of feet. There is still the remains of a Colorado State Snow Plow down at the bottom of the canyon off of Red Mountain Pass, US 550 between Ouray and Silverton Colorado. (The million dollar highway.) That plow went off in the sixties or seventies, and cannot be recovered. I believe I read somewhere that an avalanche swept it off the road and down the canyon.
    And then you have the idiots to put up with. People who don’t have enough brains to stay behind the plow, but will pass it, and if they don’t spin out right beside it, they often do on down the road a bit. And then you have the semi’s that jackknife and block the whole doggone road.
    Those folks that drive those plows just do NOT make enough money!

  • Nita December 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    To the driver of the truck-I do pray for your speedy recovery. It’s a terrible way to spend your Christmas. God’s blessings to you and your family.

  • Harry Chapin December 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Wow! 60,000 lbs? That’s 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas times two!

  • Char December 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you to all plow drivers. You work in horrible conditions around idiots……

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