UHP responds to 21 accidents in 12 hours as winter weather hits Utah

Posted at 9:36 PM, May 11, 2014

SOUTHERN UTAH -- It was a dangerous Mothers’ Day to be traveling through Southern Utah, especially I-15 in Beaver County.

“The snow packed roads have made it difficult for travelers in the area, so we’ve had several accidents and people sliding off and basically getting stuck in a traffic jam,” said Sgt. Mary Kaye Lucas of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Utah Highway Patrol reported 21 accidents, including two overturned semi-trucks. They also confirm an additional 19 vehicles that slid off the road. UHP officials said when venturing out in this weather, you must be prepared.

“Make sure your car is in good condition, make sure your tires are in good condition, make sure you have extra food, blankets, extra set of clothing because you never know how long you are going to be there and you never know what’s going to happen,” Lucas said.

In the residential neighborhoods, snow continued to accumulate atop everything from mailboxes, to rooftops, to trees.

“It’s a pretty heavy snow out here, so I’m not surprised to see the limbs snapping off like they are, this is pretty accurate,” said Kyle Parry, who was visiting Cedar City.

When those tree limbs come crashing down, they often tend to bring utility lines with them. At one point more than 6,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers in cedar city were without electricity. As of about 9:30 p.m., about 1,100 people were still without power.

“The trees can’t maintain the weight of the snow, plus the leaves, it’s just gathering up more of the weight so it’s a real wet heavy snow, I haven’t seen one this heavy in a long time,” said electrical contractor Tony Barney.

It can be like an obstacle course for residents, as they dodge everything from falling icicles to downed branches.

“I’m just seeing branches everywhere, I was really surprised, I thought this might have been a fluke, this tree behind me and then once I got home I realized there were other people in danger so I walked around and warned other people who were in danger of trees collapsing,” said Brandon Tremelling of Cedar City.

UHP officials did say, despite all the car crashes, no serious injuries were reported.