Snow causes numerous crashes; dangerous for UHP

- SALT LAKE COUNTY, (ABC 4 News) – Saturday’s snow storm caused dozens of crashes on Utah highways and kept Utah Highway Patrol Troopers busy.

A Dodge pickup truck hit a patch of black ice on Interstate 215 near the 3500 South exit and slid across two lanes of traffic. A utility truck crashes into the pickup and veered off the exit ramp into an embankment.

Shane Colledge, born and raised in Utah, saw the accident happen.

“It was a pretty hard accident,” he said. “Both of them spun in opposite directions.”

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lawrence Hopper responded to the crash before it was even dispatched. He happened to be driving on I-215 just behind the accident.

“The storm has hit,” Hopper said. “There’s snow on the ground and we’re handling crashes left and right.”

The snow is responsible for numerous accidents across the state, putting UHP at risk.

Last year, 12 troopers or their patrol cars were hit. UHP just matched that number on Saturday and it’s only February.

Two UHP cars were damaged by sliding vehicles on Interstate 80 in separate crashes Saturday.

“We don’t want to break that number and see more troopers get hit, but unfortunately with the way people are driving it’s inevitable that we are going to have troopers that are hit” Hopper said.

Most accidents happen when people see flashing lights and slam on the brakes or people just lose control of their cars.

His message to drivers is one that has been repeated before – slow down and buckle up. Each trooper has a family they want to get home to just like you.

“It’s definitely a dangerous job,” Colledge said of UHP. “You’ve got to admire them for their courage on conditions like this.”

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