Impact with concrete barrier rips wheels from semi during I-15 crash in heavy snowfall

A semitractor is wedged on top of a K-rail and the trailer is ripped from cab during a single-vehicle crash on I-15, Washington County, Utah, Feb. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Transportation, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A semitractor was destroyed when its front wheels were ripped from the frame Wednesday after colliding with a concrete barrier on Interstate 15, an impact that sent sewer pipes rolling down a hillside during heavy snowfall.

The front of a semitractor is destroyed with the hood lying on the ground and the wheels ripped off during a single-vehicle crash on I-15, Washington County, Utah, Feb. 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Transportation, St. George News

Emergency personnel were dispatched to the single-vehicle crash involving a semitractor-trailer on northbound I-15 near Exit 31.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers found the semitractor wedged on top of the concrete barrier while the trailer was detached and located on a hillside to the right of the shoulder.

The driver, who  escaped serious injury, told troopers he was unable to see the lane lines due to heavy snow that covered the interstate and was attempting to stay as far to the right as possible to avoid veering into the southbound travel lanes.

“The driver was trying to avoid being a hazard to anyone traveling by him in the opposite direction,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Mower said.

The driver continued toward the right but went too far, which sent the front of the semitractor crashing into the barrier. The impact pushed the cab toward the top of the barrier, ripping the front wheels from the semitractor’s frame and destroying the undercarriage.

The trailer, which was loaded with plastic sewer pipes, became detached from the semitractor and rolled while the load of pipes tumbled down the hill.

Meanwhile, the front tires of a pickup truck traveling behind the semi were punctured by debris that went flying in all directions. The driver was able to maneuver his truck off the interstate safely without any further damage. He was unscathed.

The Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team was on hand when the heavy wreckers arrived to free the semitractor from the barrier and pull the trailer onto the interstate using winches while the pipes were collected from the hillside.

After several hours the semitractor trailer and load were towed from the roadway.

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

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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