IRON COUNTY – A semitractor-trailer hauling potatoes rolled over on the interstate Friday spilling a portion of its load onto the roadway, affecting traffic and causing a nearly 7-hour cleanup effort.
Just before noon officers were dispatched to a semi that reportedly crashed on Interstate 15 southbound near mile marker 83 near Paragonah, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Evan Kirby said.
As officers and emergency personnel arrived they found the semi laying on its side just off the right of the outside lane with the cab of the truck still partially upright.
As the semi went off the roadway it rolled over and came to rest in the brush just to the right of its travel lane, the trooper said.
Traffic initially slowed down since the semi was not blocking traffic and both lanes of travel remained open.
A crew from the Utah Department of Transportation arrived at the crash scene just after 2 p.m. to help clear debris and assist troopers.
However, three hours later additional troopers were called in to assist with traffic control by initiating “slow downs” to prevent a secondary crash while the semi was removed from the scene, Kirby said.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, “slowdowns”create a break in traffic to enable another trooper or emergency responders to take care of a potentially hazardous situation up ahead. Troopers use their patrol vehicles to slow traffic down by carefully weaving across the lanes of travel to alert drivers of a hazard ahead.
This maneuver is most commonly used to allow troopers to remove debris from the roadway without endangering themselves or others and can also be used to allow construction or other vehicles to enter a congested highway.
A video demonstration of a “slowdown” can be seen at Utah Highway Patrol – Traffic Slow Down Demo.
Once a tow truck arrived, troopers cordoned off the No. 2 lane of travel, the outside lane, to allow the towing crew to position equipment to prepare for bringing the semi upright.
At that point troopers shut down both southbound lanes of traffic for approximately three minutes while the towing crew pulled the semi to an upright position.
Once the semi was back on its wheels it was towed away. By 6:45 p.m. both southbound lanes of travel were cleared and open for travel.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the crash is under investigation.
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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