Driver flips car into creek |

Driver flips car into creek

Beer cans are strewn nearby a car that drove off Deer Valley Drive into Poison Creek on Monday. The Utah Highway Patrol expects to file four charges against the driver, including driving under the influence of alcohol. Grayson West/Park Record

Authorities on Monday afternoon responded to two unrelated traffic accidents in Park City, both blamed on alcohol, that injured three people and left a car upside down in Poison Creek.

The two wrecks happened within an hour of each other, the first on Meadows Drive at 4:37 p.m. and the other on Deer Valley Drive at about 5:30 p.m.

Two men were in a 1989 Honda Civic when the car plunged into Poison Creek from Deer Valley Drive. Trooper Landon Middaugh from the Utah Highway Patrol said the two suffered moderate injuries but was unsure what type. He did not immediately release their names but said that the driver is 22 years old and from Park City and the passenger is 53 years old, also from Park City.

They crawled out of the car themselves, Middaugh said, and were both taken by ambulance to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Middaugh said the driver was heading northbound on Deer Valley Drive, which is the direction away from Old Town, nearby City Park when he struck the curb on the right side of the road.

The driver overcorrected, swerved the car across four lanes of traffic, over an embankment and through a stand of trees before the car rolled once and came to rest on its roof, Middaugh said.

He estimated that the driver was traveling at between 45 mph and 50 mph. The speed limit on that section of Deer Valley Drive is 40 mph.

Middaugh said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. The two were driving home from work, he said. During the investigation, Middaugh said he found in the car seven crushed Old Milwaukee beer cans, two full beer cans and two that were half full. At the scene, he said he smelled alcohol on the breaths of both the driver and the passenger.

The beer cans were visible from a vantage point at City Park.

Middaugh said he expects to file four charges against the driver — driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, improper lane travel and not wearing a seat belt. He expects to file a seat-belt count against the passenger. Middaugh said the highway patrol plans to send the case to the Summit County Attorney’s Office for screening.

"If you’ve had too much to drink, don’t drive," Middaugh said. "They really lucked out without wearing a seat belt."

Peter Chapman, a filmmaker from New York City who spent Monday in Park City, was at the nearby skate park when the wreck occurred and said he heard "the screech of the tires and then a loud noise."

A woman bystander then started screaming for someone with a cell phone, Chapman said. He said he helped the two victims up the embankment. He said the younger of the men suffered a big bump on his head and the older victim complained of cuts and back pain.

Chapman said the driver told him that another driver forced him to swerve, causing the accident.

"I was concerned for them primarily . . . Then my concern became the car possibly blowing up," Chapman said.

Meanwhile, in the Meadows Drive accident, an 18-year-old man suffered minor injuries and was taken to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Park City Police Department Lt. Phil Kirk said.

Kirk said the police charged the man, who is from the Snyderville Basin, with a count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Kirk said the man appeared to be driving fast when he crossed lanes and struck a vehicle in the oncoming lane. The driver of the other vehicle, a 28-year-old from Salt Lake County, was checked by a medical crew at the scene and released, Kirk said.

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