Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Attridge told ABC4 the crash happened after 9 p.m. when a semi-truck suffered a brake failure while coming out of Parley’s Canyon and lost control.
“Once the semi came into the closure, there was nowhere for it to go and it was still traveling at freeway speeds,” said Sgt. Attridge.
Attridge said the truck went through several traffic cones in a construction zone, nearly hitting a couple of Utah Highway Patrol Troopers who were doing traffic control in the area. The truck then side-swiped a pickup truck and hit the back of a second semi-truck causing it to jackknife on the freeway. The semi-truck came to a stop when it hit a construction trailer and burst into flames.
The driver of the semi-truck that suffered a brake failure died on the scene. In total, including the construction trailer, four vehicles were involved in the crash. Miraculously, no one else was reported as seriously injured.
“I don’t think anybody had any time to get out of the way,” said Attridge. “We basically had traffic stopped and the semi came in at what’s estimated at 70-80 mph and was unable to stop. Luckily, it could have been much worse.”
Attridge said the semi-truck driver did appear to try and avoid as many vehicles as he could have, but eventually “just ran out of space.”
The destruction from the crash left a half-mile scene along I-80, one of the longest Attridge said he has ever seen. Eastbound and westbound lanes were closed for several hours. By Wednesday morning, crews were able to open one eastbound lane before they fully reopened I-80 just before 7 a.m.