Semitrailer clips snowplow, forcing it over 300-foot embankment

ST. GEORGE — A snowplow was run off the road and its driver seriously injured Thursday afternoon after a semitractor-trailer clipped it while attempting to pass.

At around noon, Terry Jacobson, a veteran snowplow driver for Utah Department of Transportation for over 23 years, was westbound on U.S. Route 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah County plowing the inside lanes.

See video in the media player top of this report. (See ed. notes below.)

A semi passed the snowplow on the right and clipped the plow, forcing it across oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes before it hit a guard rail and careened more than 300 feet down an embankment and rolled several times, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said.

A snowplow rests in an embankment after being run off the road by a semitractor-trailer, Utah County, Utah, Jan. 12, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Transportation, St. George News

Jacobson was seriously injured and was transported to the hospital for treatment.

“He’s got multiple injuries, still in the hospital,” Braceras said, “but we’re thankful he’s going to recover.”

The dramatic scene was captured on video by a dashcam mounted inside a vehicle traveling toward the snowplow.

“I don’t think people realize what our drivers really go through – the stress involved with it,” UDOT Region 3 Area Supervisor Neil Lundell said.

UDOT urges drivers to stay behind plows by giving them at least 200 feet of space and not to attempt to pass or cut in front of them.

“What our message is – don’t pass us, just stay behind us,” Lundell said. “Even though you’re late, it doesn’t matter. If that driver would’ve stayed behind, Terry would’ve been home tonight.”

“This was by far and away the most serious crash we’ve had with one of our snowplows,” Braceras said, “but this is the fourth one we’ve had so far this year. And so, we want to make sure that we help people understand – stay back, slow down and to let these snowplow operators do the jobs they need to do.”

Don’t Crowd the Plow

  • Use caution: Don’t tailgate and try not to pass.
  • Plows are big: Give snowplows room to work.
  • Be aware: Snowplows frequently stop and back up.
  • Stay back: Stay at least 200 feet behind a snowplow.
  • Be patient: Snowplows travel below the speed limit.
  • Treat snowplows and drivers with respect. They’re here to help.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Ed. notes re UDOT video: The spelling is incorrect on the label for UDOT Region 3 Area Supervisor Neil Lundell but spelled correctly, Neil, in this report. The date stamp partially obscured by UDOT logo at about 1 minute, 45 seconds into the video in St. George News media player is incorrect; the video was shot Jan. 12. According to CNN, “UDOT confirmed to CNN the authenticity of the video, despite the incorrect date-stamp on it. The department said the owner of the dashcam incorrectly set the date and time.”

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1 Comment

  • DB January 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Missing elements: Did the semi driver stop? If so, was he cited? In all fairness, channel 13 this morning didn’t seem to know, either.

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