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Fuel spill forces I-15 closure in Murray; UHP says road debris a growing problem

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Aug 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-28 00:05:05-04

By Jeff McAdam

MURRAY, Utah --Northbound lanes of I-15 were closed Thursday morning after a dump truck spilled nearly 60 gallons of diesel gasoline onto the Interstate, and troopers said the dump truck hit a loose box spring in the middle of the road, puncturing the truck's gas tank and spouting gas into traffic.

"This is becoming a problem," said Sgt. Todd Royce of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Royce said they are seeing an increase in drivers who fail to properly secure their truck and car loads.

"It never fails," Royce begins. "We stop on the side of the road, and people say, 'I didn't think it was going to fall out.' Well, it did, and that's no excuse, and we will cite you for it."

Royce said they've responded to more than 16,000 calls for debris removal already this year.  They've removed items like refrigerators, couches, and hot tubs. In fact, on Sunday, troopers say a doghouse left on I-15 in Weber County sparked a car crash that resulted in the death of a Layton father and daughter and left a mother and the couple's other child injured.

In June of 2013, another fatal accident resulted after a car ramp fell off the back of a truck and onto I-15. Troopers say 16-year-old Claire Kenyon was killed after an SUV went airborne off the ramp and struck the car she was riding in.  Troopers say the driver who lost the ramp thought he had secured his load properly.

“Throw a strap on it," Sgt. Royce said. "If you think it needs more than one, throw two, throw three, throw four!”

UHP says failure to secure a load will result in a $200 traffic citation, and failure to secure it a second time will result in a $500 ticket.  A Class C Misdemeanor will also be issued with citations.

Drivers who lose an item are advised to slowly exit to the shoulder of the road and call 911.  On-coming traffic is advised to look 10 seconds down the road to anticipate road problems beforehand.  All drivers are encouraged to call 911 if they observe debris in the roadway.