CEDAR CITY – A New Harmony couple on their way to a family reunion for the Fourth of July weekend found themselves almost upside down and facing the wrong way on northbound Interstate 15 in Cedar City Thursday after losing control of their pull-along travel trailer.
Around 3:30 p.m., a pickup truck pulling a trailer rolled, largely blocking both travel lanes, although traffic slowly progressed past the accident on the right shoulder. No one was harmed in the crash and no other vehicles were involved.
The owner of the white Toyota Tundra, Dallan Jessen, said he and his wife had their travel trailer fully loaded with all of the gear they would need for a fun-filled, family weekend, including some four-wheelers and a dirt bike.
As he was passing Exit 57 at the south end of Cedar City traveling north, Jessen said, a large truck pulled in front of him. He tried to maneuver around it and as he pulled into the lane next to the truck, speeding up to move past it, he began to lose control of the trailer he was pulling behind him.
“I had to get off here,” Jessen said, pointing to the second Cedar City exit. “He wasn’t letting up, and I had to speed up a little bit …. I hit the brakes and I didn’t have trailer brakes and so it started swerving and it just went around and tipped me over.”
Jessens’s truck and trailer were forced around 180 degrees by the momentum of the swinging trailer and actually wound up facing oncoming traffic before coming to a complete stop with the trailer upside down and the truck on its passenger side.
Both he and his wife managed to make it through the accident without injury, Jessen said, but the trailer was a total loss, and the truck may be as well.
Jessen’s son, who lives in Cedar City and was there on the scene, said he was just glad that his father and mother are OK.
“We can replace all of this stuff,” the son said. “There was insurance and all, but we sure can’t replace the people can we?”
The accident, that began at milepost 57 managed to finish about a half-mile up the road just at the cross bridge for 600 South to pass over the Interstate below. Onlookers who pulled over on Sage Road, which runs along the west side of I-15, took pictures as the massive undertaking of clearing the road began.
As the bulldozer attempted to push the travel trailer onto the back of a flatbed, the trailer began to crunch and fold like an accordion, making the workers with Above All Towing look for another solution.
In the end, the trailer had to be pulled into two pieces to remove it from the scene, because there was no way to gather all of the wreckage onto the bed of just one tow truck.
There were no citations issued to Jessen as a result of the crash, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Bairett said, because there were no other vehicles involved in the collision. Had there been injury or damages to anyone other than the driver and his vehicle involved, a citation would have been issued, he said, because it is up to the driver to control their vehicle and trailer.
In a case where a pull-along trailer begins to sway in the manner that Jessen’s trailer did, Bairett said, it is important to not step on the brake and try to swing into the sway instead of fighting it. Incidents like this don’t happen often, he said, but they are not rare either.
Both the driver and passenger were wearing their seat belts in this case and no injuries or transports were necessary.
Traffic on northbound Interstate 15 at milepost 58, one mile shy of Exit 59 for Cedar City Airport, backed up heavily due to the incident. Responders were able to clear the scene by 4:50 p.m., though traffic remained backed up as the area was cleared.
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