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Injuries in crash force closure of U of U COVID testing site

SALT LAKE CITY –An out of control pick-up truck destroys a COVID-19 testing center at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  Several people had minor injuries, and the accident will have a major impact on how the University of Utah can test people for the virus.

Kylene Metzger with the University of Utah reports the crash resulted in some injuries. The testing site is closed.

(Credit: Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio)

Reports are that nine people were injured, four of whom were transported to the hospital and the remaining five were treated and released on the scene.  Investigators say the driver had some sort of medical problem as he arrived at the testing facility.  University of Utah Deputy Chief Jason Hinojosa says the man was entering from the wrong direction.

Hinajosa says, “He was directed to go back out and come in through the proper entrance.  At that point, he accelerated and impacted the buildings coming into the line for COVID testing.”

The driver reportedly hit two cars that were in line, then plowed into the temporary building.  Salt Lake City Fire Captain Anthony Burton says by the time his crews arrived, the truck was still in gear, trying to push forward. 

“In the initial reports, it seems like the driver was not aware of what he was doing,” Burton says.


Burton says medics had to stop the truck, then place up support beams to ensure the shed wouldn’t collapse on top of them while they pulled the drive rout of the truck.  The damage was so severe, the entire structure had to come down.

(The testing facility after the pick-up was removed. Credit: Paul Nelson)

Doctor Richard Orlandi with University Health says, “We’ll get this site back up and operational as soon as possible so we can serve the Wasatch Front and the citizens of Utah with coronavirus testing.”

Everyone who had an appointment at the facility at Rice-Eccles Stadium will be diverted to other facilities, like the ones in South Jordan or Farmington.  Orlandi believes they’ll still be able to process the same amount of patients as they always had been, but, he acknowledges the Rice-Eccles testing center carried a large chuink of their workload.

“We’re testing about 1,500 to 1,600 patients per day, and one quarter of that volume is here,” he says.