WOODS CROSS – A rookie UHP Trooper is being praised for saving lives after he slammed his vehicle into a wrong way driver on I-15 this month. The UHP is releasing the dash cam video of the crash, and they admit it wasn’t a textbook pit maneuver.
Investigators say the driver fled from a chase in downtown Salt Lake City when he got on I-15 at 400 South, heading the wrong direction. He was going north in the southbound lanes, and Salt Lake City Police decided to stop chasing since it was too dangerous.
Utah Highway Patrol Lieutenant Nicholas Street says, “They said he was going 90 miles an hour and that he almost went head-on with another motorist.”
The driver reportedly made it all the way to Woods Cross when he side-swiped the car of Trooper Lane Hooser. Troopers are allowed to go the wrong direction on a freeway to stop a dangerous driver, but Street says there are protocols they’re asked to follow before that happens.
“We get the road shut down and the trooper will wait until the roadway is shut down, then do the U-turn going the wrong way to do the standard pit maneuver,” Street says.
However, UHP officials say the danger was so high, Hooser didn’t have time to wait. There was still some residual traffic coming south on I-15 when Hooser made his U-turn, but Street says he was able to see those other cars coming.
After the crash, Hooser complained of a bloody nose and was given the next day off, but, he was right back to work the following day. The allegedly impaired driver didn’t report any injuries.
Wrong-way drivers have been an especially deadly problem in recent years.
“Six people in Davis County, alone, in 2018 lost their lives due to wrong-way crashes,” according to Street. “Three of them were on Legacy [Highway} and three were on Interstate 15.”
Highway Patrol Colonel Michael Rapich says, “In the end, our troopers know they need to get that vehicle stopped, or it’s going to end horribly.”
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