UPDATED: One dead after string of accidents on I-80 involving 23 vehicles
One person is confirmed dead and another is listed in critical condition after a string or related accidents just before 7:30 a.m. Monday morning involving 23 vehicles on westbound Interstate 80 at Echo Junction, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.
A Utah Highway Patrol report states that 12 commercial vehicles and two passenger cars were involved in the first crash, which caused four additional crashes within a half-mile span. The Utah Department of Transportation said on Twitter the accident was caused by icy conditions and involved multiple semi-trucks.
Update: 20-30 vehicles involved in the multi-car accident at Echo Junction. One confirmed fatality. @UtahDOT and tow trucks are currently working to clear the road. It will remain closed until further notice. pic.twitter.com/PlCuB0Bsjx
— Utah Public Safety (@UtahDPS) March 26, 2018
As of 2:50 p.m., eight semi-trucks had been removed from the scene, while four still needed to be towed.
Authorities identified the man killed as Oscar Longoria, 61, of Missouri. He was driving a semi-truck. The person in critical condition was flown via helicopter to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden and was not identified.
According to Summit County’s Twitter account, seven ambulances were summoned to the scene. Additionally, two medical helicopters and emergency personnel from various agencies responded, including the Park City Fire District.
Two other people were transported to Park City Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An additional 13 people were taken by school bus to Coalville with minor injuries, including bumps and bruises, according to a Utah Highway Patrol report.
Sgt. Nick Bricker, a public information officer with the Utah Highway Patrol, said emergency responders were using The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Coalville as a staging area for the injured.
An investigation was underway to determine the initial cause of the accident, Bricker said. But, he added, “It is definitely weather related.”
“Multiple-vehicle accidents are very rare, but it does happen,” he said. “That’s kind of a remote area so we’ve had to pull troopers from other areas to assist.”
The east and westbound lanes of the interstate were reopened around 7 p.m. on Monday, nearly 12 hours after the crash.
Environmental Health Director: To our knowledge no vehicles in the Echo Canyon wreck were carrying hazardous materials. To control the spread of petroleum products and antifreeze, booms & dams are in place to protect Echo Creek, Reservoir. @SummitCountyUT @UDOTRegionTwo pic.twitter.com/Qf7uQGstEs
— Summit County Health (@SummitCountyHD) March 26, 2018
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Park City is considering reinstating a controversial program along Main Street involving permit-only drop-and-load zones, something that debuted early last winter before it was suspended in March.