I-80 lanes at Utah/Nevada border reopen for travel after multi-car pileup

Posted at 2:11 PM, Apr 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-15 21:12:53-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- All lanes have reopened on Interstate 80 after high winds caused a multi-car pileup near the Utah/Nevada border Tuesday.

Westbound traffic was closed for several hours at mile marker 99, while eastbound traffic was closed to high profile vehicles only. Smaller cars were being permitted to continue on I-80.

Wind gusts of 50 mph resulted in overturned semis and a multi-car pileup, killing one person and injuring 25 others.

Of the 25 people injured, 18 were transported to hospitals. According to Sgt. Todd Royce, Utah Highway Patrol, the 25 people injured were involved in wind-related crashes.

UHP officials said the crashes started when a semi-trailer encountered low visibility conditions and slowed down almost to a stop.

“Subsequently, other vehicles come up from behind – passenger-type vehicles – and started running in to the slower-moving traffic or the stopped traffic,” a representative for UHP said. “As this thing was unfolding, more vehicles, larger commercial-type vehicles, passenger cars, pickup trucks were coming in and they were all running into each other, unable to see anything, unable to stop.”

UHP officials also said a man in his 50s died in a crash near mile marker 68, and Wednesday officials identified the deceased man as 65-year-old Robert John Eggli of Layton.

“The red car ran into the back of a semi that was stopped. The silver car ran into the back of that car and then was also ran into the back of by a semi, so it was basically sandwiched between stopped vehicles ahead and the semi from behind,” the UHP representative said about the fatal crash.

Due to the dangerous conditions, the Utah Department of Transportation closed westbound I-80 from milepost 99 in Tooele County to the Utah/Nevada border.

A dozen of those transported to hospitals were taken to Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele County. Officials at the medical center said it was a challenge getting to all those injured people in the middle of severe weather.

"Life flight actually could not fly with the wind today so we had to rely on the ground emergency personnel," said Becky Trigg of the Mountain West Medical Center. "Everything was pretty calm by the time they arrived here and our emergency personnel responded well to make sure they are taken care of."

The video above shows the wreckage of vehicles along the highway. FOX 13 News viewer Jamie Hansen submitted the video. She said in an email her brother was traveling east when he saw the accident in the westbound lanes.

Hansen said she could see cars stuck under the semis.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.