SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A crash involving a wrong-way driver on northbound I-15 closed the interstate for several hours on Wednesday morning, Feb. 1.
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Jalaine Hawkes told ABC4 the crash happened near 2300 North in Salt Lake County just before 2 a.m. A female driver allegedly drove the wrong and crashed into a male driver, causing both vehicles to block all lanes on I-15.
Hawkes said both drivers needed to be extricated from their cars. The woman was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The man reportedly died on the scene due to his injuries.
After a preliminary investigation, police believe the woman may have been under the influence at the time of the crash.
Traffic was detoured from I-15 at Warm Springs Road, with Utah Highway Patrol recommending drivers take I-215 to get back onto I-15.
I-15 was reopened to a normal flow of traffic around 7:00 a.m.
According to Utah Highway Patrol, there were 24 wrong-way collisions statewide in 2022, with seven of them being fatal. A month into 2023, UHP said there have been three wrong-way collisions so far. Wednesday’s crash was the first to be fatal.
Lt. Hawkes said one of the primary factors of wrong-way drivers is driving while impaired.
“From this standpoint, it would be great if there were no wrong-way drivers but we are in a time and place where there is starting to be more and more wrong-way drivers,” Hawkes told ABC4. “Anything you can do when you’re driving to prepare yourself to make sure you’re not distracted and paying attention to traffic ahead of you.”
Hawkes warns drivers to be aware that there could be headlights coming their way while they’re driving and to be prepared with a plan of what they might do in that situation.