Semi carrying 77,000 pounds of Coca-Cola tips over after driver tries to avoid traffic from separate crash

Front of semitractor-trailer that rolled onto its side while entering the Exit 27 on-ramp of Interstate 15, Washington County, Utah, June 30, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Two indirectly related crashes caused traffic to back up on Interstate 15 for several miles while responders cleared debris and righted overturned vehicles Saturday afternoon.

Black Cadillac pulling toy-hauler jackknifes on northbound Interstate 15, partially blocking both lanes of travel near Exit 27 Saturday afternoon, Washington County, Utah, June 30, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

The first incident was reported shortly after 1 p.m. when responders were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash involving a Cadillac Escalade hauling a trailer that overturned on I-15 near Exit 27, blocking one lane of travel in both directions.

Upon arrival, Utah Highway Patrol troopers found the Escalade in an upright position with the overturned toy-hauler on its side. The weight of the hauler pulled the front of the Cadillac down toward the ground, leaving vehicle’s rear wheels suspended in the air more than a foot above the roadway.

The driver told troopers that he was northbound on I-15 when the toy-hauler began to shake, and as he slowed down, the shaking got worse until the trailer started skidding side to side. The SUV and trailer then jackknifed just before the trailer overturned.

The SUV and trailer remained attached as both skidded along the asphalt before coming to rest and blocking two lanes of travel.

The driver reported he was uninjured and was not cited. The crash that took more than an hour to clear from the road.

Undercarriage of semitractor-trailer that rolled onto its side at the Exit 27 on-ramp of Interstate 15, Washington County, Utah, June 30, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers St. George News

Meanwhile, troopers were called to a second crash while still tending to the first involving a semitractor-trailer that was tipped on its side on the Exit 27 northbound on-ramp. The trailer broke open and had large aluminum canisters sticking out of the top of it.

The semi driver told troopers he was hauling a load of Coca-Cola syrup and was initially heading north on I-15, UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks said.

The semi driver approached the long line of vehicles waiting for the Cadillac crash to clear, Hicks said, and to avoid the delay, he exited the interstate at Exit 22 toward a frontage road, state Route 228.

The semi continued north on the frontage road running parallel with I-15 and stopped at the first stop sign at SR-228 and state Route 17, Hicks said, but he failed to stop at the second stop sign where SR-17 splits off. Instead, the semi headed toward the Exit 27 on-ramp to enter I-15 northbound.

Large aluminum Coca-Cola canisters breach top of trailer after the semitractor-trailer tipped over while entering the Exit 27 on-ramp of Interstate 15, Washington County, Utah, June 30, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers St. George News

The truck gained speed and momentum due to the 77,000-pound load in the trailer, Hicks said, explaining that once the semi hit the curve of the on-ramp, the driver was unable to slow the truck due to the weight of the load combined with the momentum.

The trailer then tipped sharply to the right and pulled the semitractor along with it until both came crashing down onto the roadway with the passenger’s side resting on the asphalt with truck and trailer still attached.

Large aluminum canisters of Coca-Cola breached the thin wall of the trailer on impact, which left several canisters sticking out of the top of the overturned trailer. The entire shipment of heavy canisters had to be offloaded before the truck and trailer could be pulled upright.

“This is going to take a while,” Hicks said, as he watched the canisters being lifted with a winch and removed from the damaged trailer.

The driver was uninjured in the crash and was able to exit the cab of the truck on his own. He was later cited for failing to stop at a stop sign and failing to maintain his lane, Hicks said.

As of about 3 p.m., Hicks advised motorists to avoid the area around SR-228 and SR-17 until the wreck is cleared, estimated to take about 6-8 hours.

This report is based on statements from police and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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  • ladybugavenger June 30, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    I was thinking tragic, then I remembered the pigs and all that wasted bacon ?

  • Sunfun88 June 30, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Glad everyone is ok!

  • Ridic July 1, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Not that this even really matters but I wish the reporting was a little more accurate. Just for education sake this truck was definitely not carrying 77,000 lbs of Coca-Cola. Legally you can only weigh 80,000 so it is impossible to carry 77,000 lbs. these rigs weigh approximately 20,000 by themselves and add another 12,000 for the trailer. Simple math then shows that he was hauling approximately 45,000 lbs of freight and not the 77,000 shown in the headline.

  • justsaying July 2, 2018 at 6:07 am

    You mean E-Logs didn’t prevent this from happening? haha

  • Larry July 2, 2018 at 7:53 am

    The Toy-Hauler concept can be an accident waiting to happen. The heavy “Toys” go in the back, and if you are not careful and make sure you still have adequate weight on the tongue after loading, You just may be in for a wild ride. You also need to have the trailer breaks set properly or the trailer will start pushing the tow vehicle when you start breaking coming down a grade. Trailer breaks also have a manual override that you can engage if the trailer starts dancing, which is what the driver should have done to avoid this coketaftrafee…

  • indy-vfr July 2, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Really not trying to be snarky, but have you ever seen an Escalade on I-15 not doing at least 90 mph? Even when pulling a trailer!

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