Semi takes out 300 feet of cable barrier on I-15 after driver falls asleep at wheel

The scene of a semitrailer-tractor crash on Interstate 15 in Iron County, Utah, March 17, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A semitractor-trailer that crashed into a cable barrier on Interstate 15 in Iron County sent oil spilling along the median Sunday morning.

At 8:30 a.m., emergency personnel were dispatched to the crash on northbound I-15 near mile marker 43 involving a semi that went off the roadway into the median.

Responders arrived to find the driver uninjured. The semi ended up in the grassy median tethered to the cable barrier after it became attached to the trailer’s undercarriage near the rear driver’s side wheel.

Approximately 300 feet of cable barrier was taken out by the semi after the driver lost control, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dan Nielson said.

At the time of the crash, the driver told troopers that he became drowsy as he was heading north on the interstate and decided to pull off at a rest stop located less than a mile away.

“But he fell asleep less than a quarter of a mile away from the rest area,” Nielson said.

The scene of a semitrailer-tractor crash on Interstate 15 in Iron County, Utah, March 17, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

The driver woke just as the semi struck the cable barrier and continued for more than 300 feet, ripping the barrier from the support beams as it did so. The semi’s oil pan was punctured when it hit a support beam, causing 12-15 quarts of motor oil to spill out from the engine area.

Once stopped, the driver was unable to move the semi because it was still connected by a section of cable attached to the undercarriage of the trailer, Nielson said.

The trailer sustained minimal damage, but the cable barrier was destroyed. Utah Department of Transportation officials currently estimate the damage to the cable barrier to total approximately $1,400.

The driver was cited for a lane travel violation, Nielson said.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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