Officer injured after hitting debris dumped on I-15

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 05, 2013

KAYSVILLE -- A Salt Lake City police officer was seriously injured after hitting a piece of roadside debris on I-15.

The accident happened in the southbound lanes about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday. Utah Highway Patrol troopers said a group of about 25 officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department were on a training exercise.

"They were traveling in the HOV lane, and they came upon a piece of debris in the roadway," said UHP Sgt. Matt Spillman. "It was a metal box, we believe it to be a part of a refrigeration unit that was sitting in the middle of the lane."

Three officers hit the metal debris but only one crashed, Spillman said. The officer was transported to a local hospital in serious condition. Salt Lake City police declined to comment on the crash, but said the officer is expected to be released from the hospital.

The UHP said it was unlikely they will ever know who dropped the debris.

"At this point we don't know, and in most circumstances we don't ever find out unless the person comes forward or stops at the scene," Spillman said.

The accident highlights a continual concern for authorities. Litter on the roadways has caused numerous accidents on Utah's roads -- including some fatalities. UHP, UDOT and AAA have scheduled a news conference Thursday to talk about road litter and urge people to secure their loads.

"This time of the year, motorists need to be especially alert for things on the roadway," said UDOT spokesman Vic Saunders. "Secondarily, when we're hauling things, we need to take extra care to make sure that we secure our loads. Because that thing just slides off the back, lands in the roadway and someone can be injured or even killed by that material."