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Barriers couldn’t prevent truck from crossing into oncoming traffic before crash

SPANISH FORK – The Utah Highway Patrol is explaining what they believe caused a Payson man to lose control of his truck before slamming into oncoming traffic on I-15 in Spanish Fork.  They’re also explaining why steel cable barriers along that part of the freeway didn’t prevent the vehicle from crossing over.

Investigators believe the cause of the crash was black ice.  UHP Lieutenant Todd Royce says Kevin Miller hit it, then went into the median.  He says, “The truck did lose control, and it did start to roll prior to hitting the cable barrier.”

The steel cables normally catch any car that hits them, but, Miller’s truck rolled over them.  Otherwise, Royce says these cables have been proven to be extremely effective in preventing vehicles crossing into oncoming traffic.  He remembers patrolling I-15 in Utah County before the barriers were installed.  “I remember, back in the day, quite often that we would have crossovers, and when we did and they contacted another vehicle, it was horrific,” he says.

“We’ve had about a 95 percent reduction in those crossover crashes,” according to UDOT Spokesman John Gleason.  The department installed roughly 300 miles of those cables across the state since 2003.

Gleason says they’re designed to absorb the impact of a vehicle, almost like a net.  He adds that it’s extremely rare for a vehicle to go either over or under the barriers.  “It’s not 100 percent effective.  Nothing ever is, but, the has really done an amazing job at reducing the number of serious and fatal crashes,” he says.

(Photo Credit: Utah Highway Patrol)