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Deadly crash on I-15 occurred Wednesday due to bad weather

(Wreckage from fatal crash on northbound I-15 in Salt Lake City. One woman was killed, her family members were not seriously hurt. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A deadly crash on Utah’s freeways occurred Wednesday afternoon because of the bad weather. Highway Patrol officials reported they’ve looked into hundreds of crashes over the past several days, including one that killed a woman driving with her family in Salt Lake City.

The fatal crash happened Wednesday afternoon when a woman was driving north on I-15 approaching the westbound I-80 interchange.  Investigators believe the driver was in the left lane but wanted to merge onto I-80. She then made sudden lane shifts at a high rate of speed.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Mikki Vargas said, “She hit a patch of ice and, ultimately, rolled her vehicle several times coming to a stop against the barrier.”

The woman was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected out of the car and off the freeway, altogether. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but later died from her injuries. The rest of her family wasn’t seriously injured.

“The husband was sitting in the front passenger seat with no [significant] injuries, just a minor shoulder injury. The kids were, fortunately, both buckled and secured in their car seats. They did not have any injuries,” Vargas said.

(UHP troopers investigating the deadly rollover in Salt Lake City. Credit: Paul Nelson)

This was just one of the hundreds of accidents UHP has investigated all over the state since last weekend. Lieutenant Nick Street says they’ve handled over 650 crashes and slide-offs since Saturday, with 219 happening on Wednesday, alone.

So far one crash was reportedly deadly due to the bad weather on Wednesday. 

During the most intense part of Wednesday’s storm, Street says Tooele County and Utah County were the most active hotspots for traffic problems.

“Utah County saw a number of crashes, even a ten-car [pile-up], an overturned semi and a crash with some pretty serious injuries down in Provo,” Street said.

At one point, UHP had to temporarily shut down southbound I-15 in Utah County because of a semi rollover.

He said, “We were able to open up a couple of lanes, but traffic had already snarled behind that.”

Street believes every time a heavy snowstorm hits Utah after a long, dry stretch, it takes people a few days to remember how to drive in bad weather. He added many people may have overlooked things like replacing their tires for the snow.