CEDAR CITY – A Millard County Sheriff’s deputy is dead and his wife is in the hospital in serious condition following a motorcycle accident on Interstate 15 near Kanarraville Friday afternoon.
“We think there was an issue with the tire. It may have been separating, but we’re not sure,” Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Esplin said.
The higher than normal winds may have been a factor in the accident, Esplin added.
Brett Nielson, who was driving the motorcycle, was pronounced dead at the scene while his wife was airlifted to Dixie Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, authorities said.
Both the driver and passenger were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
The Interstate was temporarily shut down for more than an hour with traffic backing up several miles before it was reopened.
Meanwhile, the Interstate closure triggered another accident involving three vehicles a mile south at milepost 47. The incident occurred within minutes after authorities shut the road down.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Bairett said a gold BMW was traveling north when it crashed into a silver Caravan, shoving it forward into a blue Lexus.
The BMW driver told authorities he was unaware the vehicles in front of him had stopped.
“Traffic was closed off and people were coming in slowing down but the guy driving the gold BMW didn’t see that everybody was slowing down,” Bairett said.
Five people in the Caravan were transported via Gold Cross Ambulance with minor injuries to Valley View Hospital, pending the name change to Cedar City Hospital that will take effect May 1.
The driver of the Lexus refused medical care, Bairett said. The driver of the BMW was not transported by ambulance but was later taken by private vehicle to the hospital.
The BMW driver was cited for failure to reduce speed for hazard.
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