Motorcyclist survives head-on crash in Basin
July 5, 2006
A 23-year-old motorcyclist nearly died Friday in a crash near a curve on Highland Drive where drivers and school children routinely battle for space.
"He was definitely lucky to survive that impact," Park City Fire District paramedic Darren Nelson said.
Orem resident Wade Bethers, 25, who was flown by helicopter to University of Utah Health Sciences Center, was in fair condition this week, Nelson said.
"He’s doing good for having a fairly significant head injury," Nelson said, adding that Bethers was not wearing a helmet.
Bethers crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a car while riding south on Highland Drive around 1 p.m., Summit County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dave Booth said.
"It is still under investigation," he said Monday, adding that no citations were issued in the crash. "It’s definitely the motorcyclist’s fault."
Recommended Stories For You
Neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be factors in the crash, he said.
"[Bethers] couldn’t stay within his lane," Booth said.
The other driver complained of chest pain, he added.
Stretching from Silver Summit Parkway to Ute Boulevard, Highland Drive provides Snyderville residents a route other than S.R. 224 and U.S. 40 for driving to Kimball Junction.
Investigators say Bethers was traveling 65 mph in a 35 mph zone when he crashed. The speed wouldn’t surprise Highland Estates resident Penny Evans.
"It’s horrible having the kids walk home on that road. They can feel the wind of the cars as they drive past," said Evans, whose home is on Highland Drive. "Everybody is afraid of this road."
Few people lived on the road when she purchased her home in 1998, she said, adding that no sidewalks exist on Highland Drive.
"Since it’s a frontage road, it’s just kind of natural to go faster," Evans said.
Motorists sometimes honk at 14-year-old Sarah Evans as if she shouldn’t be walking on the street.
"In some places there isn’t anywhere to walk except for the road and in the winter there are snow piles that you can’t really get around without going in the road," the Treasure Mountain International School student said. "Maybe a lower speed limit would help."
Camille Evans gratefully recalled a day she dropped a book while getting off the school bus on Highland Drive.
"This car drove by the bus while it was stopped so if I hadn’t dropped the book I might have been hit. It’s dangerous, I know that because my bus driver sometimes drops me off at my house because he’s worried," the 12-year-old said, adding that kids in the neighborhood cannot play near the street. "If the ball bounces in there we leave it."
Meanwhile, most drivers on Highland Drive travel roughly 40 mph, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan estimates.
Posting digital signs that warn motorists of speeds could slow them down, he added.
"We’re kind of feeling our way toward how to implement a safe route-to-school system," Callahan said. "The system was never really set up. We only have about seven miles of sidewalk in the Basin."
Neighbors concerned that Highland Drive is unsafe should schedule a meeting with county officials, he said.
"You’re seeing more pedestrians so the potential for accidents is increasing," Callahan said.
With more than 20,000 people living in unincorporated Snyderville, westsiders often press the Summit County Commission for better infrastructure.
"The expectations change over time," Callahan said. "Culture changes, people change and that’s something that we have to adapt to."
More deputies on Highland Drive monitoring motorists’ speeds would slow traffic down, Booth said.
"If someone calls, we’ll sit in front of their house and run radar," he said.
"The road that we hear about a lot is Trailside (Drive)."