Semi filled with produce rolls on I-15

A semitractor-trailer rolled on Interstate 15 near Exit 13 early Thursday morning, Washington, Utah, Aug. 18, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Todd Abbot, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A semitractor-trailer carrying four occupants and a load of produce rolled on Interstate 15 early Thursday, keeping emergency personnel and work crews busy for hours clearing the scene.

Officers responding to a report of a rollover near Exit 13 on the northbound side found the semi partially off the roadway and resting on its side, with the driver’s side of the truck facing upward, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said.

Semi trailer was unloaded before it could be pulled to an upright position, Interstate 15, Washington, Utah, Aug. 18, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Todd Abbott, St. George News
A damaged semitractor-trailer was unloaded before it could be pulled to an upright position, Interstate 15, Washington, Utah, Aug. 18, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Todd Abbott, St. George News

All of the occupants were outside of the truck when emergency personnel arrived. The driver told officers he was unable to keep the truck on the roadway because of an equipment issue with the steering, Hicks said.

Emergency personnel tended to the semi’s occupants, who sustained minor injuries in the crash but declined transport to the hospital.

Trooper Mark Cooper, a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspector with the Utah Highway Patrol, arrived and conducted a roadside inspection of the truck and damages, Hicks said.

Meanwhile, a work crew and forklift arrived and unloaded the contents of the trailer. Soon after a commercial wrecker moved into position and attached cabling to the semi and pulled it off the roadway.

The trailer must be empty at the time it’s lifted, otherwise the trailer could split open or the cab could be ripped away from the trailer.

Cooper’s findings showed that all equipment appeared to be in good working order prior to the crash, including the steering mechanism, Hicks said. Any damage the inspector found was caused by the crash, as opposed to being the cause.

The cause of the crash was driver fatigue, according to Cooper’s investigation.

Six hours after the incident was reported the damaged semi and its contents were towed, the roadway was clear of debris, and the produce was donated to the local Utah Food Bank.

According to Hicks, two good things came out of the crash.

“First, all four occupants were wearing their seat belts, so they sustained only minor injuries,” he said, “and second – the Utah Food Bank received an unexpected donation.”

The multi agency response included the Utah Highway Patrol, a Commercial Vehicle Alliance Inspector, the Washington City Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance, a commercial truck-loading crew, and the Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team.

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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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • .... August 20, 2016 at 7:13 am

    This could of been such a tragic incident. material things can be replaced. but not human life. they will all be able two go home two the loved ones Praise the Lord !

  • knobe August 20, 2016 at 7:49 am

    A good friend of mine used to do OTR driving & his hours & lack of days off was crazy .
    Instead of sleeping in a real bed in a quiet room they sleep in the trucks ( which is NOT the same ) .
    I saw his health & mental state decline over the 5 years he did it .
    Fortunately he eventually got a local job where he could sleep in a real bed at nite & his health improved
    He may have escaped the brutal job but thousands are still in it .
    Our country needs a much better plan for our drivers .

  • .... August 20, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Amen to that Knobe !

  • DRT August 20, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    The article states there were four people in the truck. This is a bit abnormal in itself, as trucks are pretty much set up for a maximum of two people. Both drivers. Yes, sometimes, an owner/operator will take his family along with him for a run, particularly over the summer. But again, usually not more than one person other than the driver.
    And then we have the “new” breed of trucker. These folks are most usually from third world countries. They will team up anywhere from two to six drivers per truck. They don’t seem to mind the crowded conditions that would drive most of us up the wall. In a lot of instances, not all of these “drivers,” will even have a legitimate commercial license. But it doesn’t stop them from driving. They just make sure that when they go through the scales, that a licensed driver is behind the wheel. There are a few companies that are known to specialize in this type of operation. They seem to pretty much be out of the Chicago area, and are owned by folks from the middle east. They operate totally illegally.
    I’m not saying that is the case here, but just the number of people in the truck makes me wonder. I also have to wonder if in fact this was a sleepy driver, or was it a distracted driver?
    I’m glad no one was hurt in this instance, but when a big truck tangles with a soccer mom and her kids in the mini-van, it becomes a real tragedy.
    This country would not survive as we know it, without trucking. But somebody needs to figure out how to actually enforce the laws and regulations that are already on the books. It seems that everytime there is a tragedy involving a big truck, some politician, who knows nothing about the industry, tries to put in more regulations. We don’t need more. We need to have the ones that are in place, enforced.
    I might add, that the UHP Commercial Officers do a very good job. They are just too few and too limited in what they can do.

    • DB August 20, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      I understand that drivers have rest requirements and documentation thereof, just like airline pilots, but your post sheds a lot of light on things, thanks.

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