Driver killed in head-on collision after semi tried to pass in ‘no passing lane’

ST. GEORGE — A 22-year-old driver was killed when a semitractor-trailer crashed into his vehicle head-on while it was passing a slower moving semi on U.S. Route 6  in Utah County.

A Freightliner semi hits a Ford pickup head on, killing the driver on U.S. Route 6 in Utah County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

Shortly after 3 a.m. Utah Highway Patrol troopers responded to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 6 at mile marker 226 just southeast of Spanish Fork in Utah County, according to a statement released by the agency Friday.

Troopers arrived to find the driver of the Ford pickup truck, Baylan Nelson, of Huntington in Emery County, who sustained injuries so severe that he died at the scene.

At the time of the crash, the Freightliner semitractor-trailer was heading west on U.S. 6 when the driver attempted to pass a slower-moving semi “in a no-passing zone, on a grade and on a corner,” according to the UHP statement.

Meanwhile, the Ford was traveling east and was struck head on by the westbound semi. The pickup rolled and was then dragged by the semi as it continued off the roadway where it crashed into a large embankment.

U.S. Route 6 was closed for several hours to clear the scene and conduct a crash investigation while traffic was diverted onto Emma Park Road.

The State Bureau of Investigation, a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspector with the Utah Highway Patrol, MCIT and the Utah County Attorney’s Office were contacted to assist with the case.

According to authorities, charges are pending in the case and the investigation is ongoing.

Later that same day, a motorcycle rider was flown to a nearby hospital in critical condition after he was thrown from his bike after being struck by an SUV, police told St. George News.

The rider was heading north on state Route 12 in Garfield County when an SUV traveling in the same direction merged to the left and struck the bike, sending it careening off the highway. The rider, meanwhile, was thrown from the bike and was found off the left shoulder of the highway.

Both directions of travel on SR 12 were impacted for more than an hour until the scene could be cleared and the lanes reopened.

The rider’s condition was upgraded to serious Friday evening, but he remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

The crash is still under investigation.

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

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