UTAH (ABC4) – A particularly deadly weekend on Utah roads and highways has prompted officials to remind drivers of the risks and responsibilities behind the wheel.
Utah Highway Patrol Colonel Michael Rapich issued a grim statistic with a solemn reminder on his Twitter account.
Of the accidents that resulted in fatalities, the death of a 26-year-old woman who had enjoyed her wedding just hours before was especially devastating to friends and family. Authorities at the time of the accident believed that impairment could have been a primary cause of the head-on collision, which involved a pickup truck going the wrong way on I-15 near South Salt Lake. Police arrested Manaure Gonzalez-Rea and charged him with vehicular homicide, among other charges, nothing that he had an “overwhelming odor” of alcohol on his breath.
Other fatal accidents around this state this weekend included a motorcycle crash on I-84 in Morgan County on Saturday. In that incident, a 67-year-old driver of a Harley Davidson failed to stay on the road after taking a turn and veered into a cable barrier. He was pronounced dead following emergency surgery at the hospital, according to officials. The victim has been identified as Christopher Anderson of Salt Lake City.
Impairment is suspected as a possible cause of another fatal accident on Saturday. A westbound Dodge Durango jolted off the road for an unknown reason near milepost 54, causing the truck to roll several times. Although the driver was wearing a seatbelt, they died on the scene due to the sustained injuries. The male passenger, after coming to after an unknown time, was able to escape the wreckage and flag down help on the interstate. He was later taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Another Saturday fatality occurred after a driver fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into the other lane at around 9:45 a.m. in Washington County. The drowsy driver made contact with a semi-truck and then lost control of his Chevy Cruze, forcing the semi-driver to slow down to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, a Nissan following the trailer was unable to slow down in time and rear-ended the semi, killing the driver on impact and sending the passenger to the hospital in serious condition. The victim has been identified as 77-year-old Robert McCracken of South Jordan.
Saturday’s tragic string of wreckage ended with a double-fatality in Utah County. According to police, an eastbound Mazda drifted into oncoming traffic on Highway 6, killing its driver and passenger in a head-on collision with an Audi. The driver and passenger of the Audi were taken to the hospital with serious conditions. Officials are unsure of what caused the Mazda to drift into oncoming traffic at this time. Those victims have been identified as 28-year-old Diana C Hoyos Avellaneda of Ephraim and 27-year-old Laura C Regueros Balles.