At least seven cars damaged by debris on same stretch of I-215

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 23:15:18-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- At least seven cars were damaged on eastbound I-215 Thursday afternoon after drivers encountered debris believed to have fallen off the back of a truck.

These drivers are now facing thousands of dollars in damage, and they say it all could have been avoided.

Allie Diamond is one of those drivers. She was on her way home with her daughter around 3 p.m. when she noticed a 2-foot long, 30 pound drive shaft smack dab in the middle of her lane.

"And I went to swerve around the pipe and ended up hitting another chunk of pipe, and I immediately heard the tire blow," Diamond said.

Diamond's daughter, Holly, was in the front seat. She doesn't want to imagine what would have happened if the metal object kicked up through the windshield.

"It went like 'eeeeeh!', and then I got really scared because I never heard a noise like that," Holly said.

When Allie pulled over, she realized she was not alone.

"There ended up being seven cars involved in this with flat tires or worse, one car had the oil panel ripped out from underneath, and it was pretty scary," Diamond said.

Two of the cars involved were towed to Ken Garff Nissan. Their mechanics say they've never seen anything like this.

"To have two or three come in at the same time for the same incidents in the same area, it's tough," said Pat Dunlavy of Ken Garff.

All four of Diamond's tires were piled up on the floor. There is more than $1,000 in estimated damage.

"Right now we got tires and wheels that are bent, popped, we have to get those fixed first and then make sure there is no suspension damage or body damage, but it can get extensive pretty fast," Dunlavy said.

UHP is still investigating where the debris came from. Considering there were multiple chunks of metal, Diamond is certain they came from the back of a truck that wasn't secured properly. She hopes the person responsible comes forward.

"If you know that you lost the load, please call the Highway Patrol and tell them that it was you so your insurance can cover all of our expenses, because there is thousands of dollars. I'm just glad no one was hurt," Diamond said.

The Utah Department of Transportation said earlier this month that debris on roads contribute to more than 700 crashes each year in Utah.

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and if you don't tie down your cargo that can be a hefty fine for you, but it can also cost someone else their life, so it really is all of our responsibility," UDOT Spokesman John Gleason said June 17. "It takes 5 minutes, and it could mean the difference between life or death."