Front of semi ‘completely blown away’ when it rear-ended a trailer on I-15

A semitractor sustains extensive damage after hitting a slower-moving semi on Interstate 15 in Washington County, Utah, April 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

ST. GEORGE A fast-moving semitractor-trailer rear-ended a slower tractor-trailer on northbound Interstate 15 just south of Toquerville Wednesday, sending debris fling across two lanes of travel.

The trailer of a semi sustains minimal damage in a crash involving a second semitrailer-tractor on Interstate 15 in Washington County, Utah, April 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

Shortly after 6 p.m.,Utah Highway Patrol troopers dispatched to the scene found both tractor-trailers in the middle of the road blocking two lanes of a three-lane section of I-15, UHP trooper Grant Hintze said. The two drivers were outside of their vehicles and reported no serious injuries.

One of the drivers had just pulled back onto the interstate after a short stop on the right shoulder and was traveling about 15 miles per hour when it was struck by the second semi “doing about 75 miles an hour when the two trucks collided,” he said.

The speed was also confirmed by witnesses at the scene.

The damage to the trailer of the slow-moving semi was minimal “because those trailers are pretty amazing,” Hintze said. However, the front and engine compartment of the semi coming from behind was “completely blown away.”

A semitractor sustains extensive damage after hitting a slower-moving semi on Interstate 15 in Washington County, Utah, April 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

He went on to say that both tractor-trailers were 2019 models designed to “blow apart like that” to diffuse the energy of the impact away from the truck’s occupants to increase safety, but was also the reason both lanes were blocked because of all of the debris scattered across the roadway.

“It looked a lot worse than it actually was in terms of injuries, and other than some neck pain both drivers were OK.”

Hintze said dash cam video from the trailing semi shows that the driver had about 20 seconds to slow down after the slower-moving semi came into view. Instead, he hit the brakes just before colliding with the truck, a delay possibly caused by a distraction, “but we’re not sure at this point.”

The trailing tractor-trailer was towed from the roadway while the other one remained operational with only a dent on the steel bumper and the driver’s side hull to the rear breached.

Traffic was light at the time of the crash so the impact was minimal, Hintze said, and the driver of the second semi was issued a citation.

This report is based on statements from police or 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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