ENOCH — A 36,000-pound Iron County school bus plowed into the side of a 60,000-pound water well service truck on Minersville Highway and Midvalley Road in Enoch Wednesday morning — knocking the rig onto its side and sending it sliding 30 feet across the asphalt.
The sideways truck filled the entire southbound lane of the highway, blocking traffic for the better part of three hours while first responders investigated and worked to clean up the scene.
Beryl resident Rayne Davis, a driver for Anzalone Pumps Inc., and Dillon Cox, of Enterprise, had just completed the long, rainy drive to Enoch to pick up the service truck from the yard, Davis said. The two had just gotten back on the road and were heading to their first job of the day when the accident happened.
Cox was following behind Davis in Davis’ truck and saw the yellow school bus pull out from Midvalley Road and slam into his friend, who was driving the work truck in front of him.
“It could have been really bad,” Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Clay Allred said, explaining exactly what a close call the accident was:
When you look at the damage that was done to the bus, the whole windshield is out, and then they’re just two very large vehicles getting in a crash. That’s a lot of inertia, that’s a lot of physics going on there. We definitely could have had the potential for some serious injuries. Had she (the bus driver) pulled out a little bit earlier and he T-boned her, it would have been devastating. Where it was kind of flip-flop and she T-boned him, we’re fortunate that everybody made it OK.
The driver of bus 948 had just finished dropping Three Peaks Elementary students off at their stop and was about to begin her second run of the day, picking up Canyon View High School students, when the accident happened, Iron County Bus Garage Manager Danny Cowan said.
There were no students on the bus when the accident occurred.
The bus driver was traveling west on Midvalley Road and was about to cross Minersville Highway when she crashed into the southbound well service truck, hitting the rig near the rear driver’s side, Allred said. The force flipped the massive truck onto its passenger side, and the vehicle slid about 30 feet down the road, gouging holes in the asphalt along the way.
The driver of the empty school bus was covered in small lacerations on her face and arms. She was transported to Valley View Medical Center by Gold Cross Ambulance to be treated for minor injuries, Allred said.
The driver of the well service truck refused medical treatment and remained at the scene.
“I’m fine,” Davis said. “I just have some bruising where the seat belt was and stuff like that, (and) my leg hit the dash.”
The bus driver told Allred she just didn’t see the truck until she was about to collide with it, but by then it was already too late.
There will be an investigation to determine if the bus driver stopped at all, Allred said, or if she just drove straight through the stop sign altogether. Either way, he said, Davis had the right of way, and the bus driver failed to yield.
“We’ve got some commercial motor vehicle inspectors out here that are inspecting these vehicles to make sure that they’re operating the way that they’re supposed to be,” Allred said, “that their brakes are good and that they have all of the proper permits and all of that.”
The bus had rear-facing cameras that will be reviewed to determine whether the bus came to a complete stop as well, he said.
There is no suspicion that drugs or alcohol playing a role in the collision, Allred said, but the slick, wet pavement from the rainy morning definitely could have played a role in the bus driver’s inability to stop quickly.
Enoch City Police Department and Iron County Sheriff’s Office responders helped UHP direct traffic at the scene, while the Utah Department of Transportation brought in sweepers to clean the mud, gravel and debris from the road.
The school bus was towed from the scene early on, but it took three tow trucks to raise the well service truck back onto its wheels.
It is unknown whether either vehicle will be a total loss at this stage, Allred said.
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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