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Slides cause closure at American Fork Canyon

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Posted at 8:48 PM, Jul 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-07 22:48:33-04

AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah -- Three mudslides at American Fork Canyon on Sunday closed a portion of the road for several hours.

Utah Highway Patrol said two men riding all-terrain vehicles tried to drive over the slide, which caused it to pour down into the road near Tibble Fork.

Kenny Reisinger was one driver stuck after the road closed.

“Out of nowhere the rains came, pour, pour, pour, and the next thing we know the roads are closed,” he said. “Trying to come down, and we were stuck at the reservoir for now 5 and a half hours,” he said.

The force of the slide sent one of the riders over the embankment with his ATV.  It took crews several hours to clear out debris from the road and then retrieve his vehicle. Officials said he was lucky to only suffer minor injuries.

Mudslides are not uncommon at the canyon during the summer months, especially following heavy rain. Park officials advise anyone who drives upon one to steer clear, rather than attempt to cross.

Kathleen Halliday, who works at the canyon, said people should seek the high ground.

“They should go back up to the high ground,” she said. “We keep telling them to go up like Tibble Fork and stay there. And then if they’re on this side, we tell them to turn around and get out of here because you don’t know if it’s going to be done or if it’s going to keep going.”

Two other slides occurred before and after the damage found near Tibble Fork. Authorities said they only restricted one lane of traffic. However, the weekend’s severe weather forced the Timpanogos Cave to close Monday, in order to allow crews to clean up the damage the storms left in their wake.