SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) -I-15 Southbound was shut down for several hours Friday morning around 1800 south because of a crash involving a tanker fire.
Troopers say an early investigation shows a car crashed into a semi hauling 8,000 gallons of fuel.
“The sedan in the collision left its lane on the left-hand side crossing all lanes on the left-hand side, then went back to the right-hand side then colliding with the wall the vehicle collided with the trailer,” Sergeant Justin Dial with the Utah Highway Patrol said.
Troopers say that caused the semi to flip over and catch fire. Investigators believe this may be a case of drowsy driving.
“If you are feeling drowsy we advise you pull over, get off the freeway, pull into a parking lot where you feel safe, or somewhere close by where you have someone you are able to and maybe crash at their place, spend a night at their place if needs be. But the last thing we want is drowsy drivers out here. This is what happens when you haven’t had enough sleep and you get behind the wheel,” he said.
Troopers say both drivers were lucky and taken to area hospitals.
“The driver of the semi was basically uninjured, was transported as a precaution. The driver of the sedan was transported as well with some fairly minor injuries nothing too serious on him either,” Sgt. Dial said.
Zero Fatalities statistics show in 2018, 15 people died from drowsy driving in the state of Utah.
“That is the official count but that may be the tip of the iceberg there. We may be scratching the surface on how big of an issue drowsy driving is because it is tough to prove,” said John Gleason with the Utah Department of Transportation.
UDOT crews will need to fix 13 scorched concrete slabs and 330 feet of barrier on I-15 highway.
Our crews are busy cleaning up the scene of the tanker fire on I-15 this morning. Once we get all the debris cleared, we’ll have a better idea of what repairs will be needed. pic.twitter.com/bmdQUD5XaR— Utah DOT (@UtahDOT) February 22, 2019
Gleason told ABC4 News some gasoline got into the drainage pipes and caused a minor explosion.
“Right now we are going to be putting in a temporary hot patch to get us through until the temperatures are a little warmer and we come in with a more permanent solution,” he said.
Crews say this process will be comparable and may cost just as much as the tanker fire in Midvale on I-15 in January of 2018.
UDOT crews say please us caution on I-15 SB while crews fix the damage from 1300 South through 2100 South.
This is a developing news story and we will update this story as soon as more information becomes available.