SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Warmer weather and motor vehicles proved to be a deadly combination this weekend. Six people died in five different accidents throughout Utah with a variety of suspected causes.
First, two men from Arizona died Saturday afternoon when their vehicle went off the Moab Rim Jeep Trail and over a cliff.
That evening, a suspected impaired driver rolled his pickup off Highway 89 and into the Logan River. His passenger survived, but the driver was pronounced dead at the hospital.
On Sunday morning, a man in his 20s was killed in an apparent street racing crash near 900 S. and 3000 W. in Salt Lake City. Hours later, a motorcycle rider died when he was hit by an SUV near Liberty Park. Initial reports indicate the SUV driver may not have seen the biker.
“With the warm weather coming on, there are more motorcyclists out. There are more bicyclists out,” says Lt. Lisa Pascadlo of the Salt Lake City Police Department. “A lot of people are not paying attention as they’re driving because of the wonderful weather. We tend to want to look out the windows and not pay attention to where we’re going.”
“Make those scans across the roadways to look for smaller vehicles,” Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol tells ABC4 News. “As we look for larger cars, it’s easy. But now we have to take a little slower scan of our left and right before we move into an intersection and make sure we’re not missing motorcycles.”
Also Sunday morning, a 35-year-old man was killed when he apparently drove his four-wheeler off a steep embankment at Five Mile Pass near the Tooele County-Utah County line. Family members told investigators he was not wearing a helmet, something Lt. Street says you should never ride without.
“Somebody loves you,” says Lt. Street. “And if you make that decision and something out of your control happens to where you needed to have that helmet on and don’t, we’re the ones that have to have that difficult conversation with somebody that loves you and tell them that you are no longer here.”
According to Zero Fatalities, there have been 81 deaths and 73 fatal crashes in Utah so far in 2021.
Last year there were 281 deaths on Utah roads, up 33 from 2019, despite fewer people driving because of the pandemic.