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Troopers say inexperience with mountain driving contributed to deadly semi crash into Garden City building

Posted at 8:25 AM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 10:41:24-04

GARDEN CITY, Utah - The Utah Highway Patrol states a deadly crash in Garden City was caused in part because the driver's inexperience in mountain conditions led to overheated brakes.

Ahmed M. Abdelgader of Omaha, Nebraska suffered fatal injuries in the crash on October 10. A passenger in the semi remains hospitalized as of Friday and is listed in serious condition.

Abdelgader was driving a semi hauling a load of butter when the vehicle went through a stop sign and slammed into Pugstones Sporting Goods on Bear Lake Boulevard in Garden City around 6:36 p.m. Surveillance cameras from nearby show the deadly crash.

Pugstones sustained extensive damage and was ruled a total loss before being demolished.

UHP released their preliminary findings Friday, saying numerous witnesses reported seeing the semi driving erratically in Logan Canyon. Witnesses said the vehicle drove into oncoming traffic, crossed multiple lanes and swerved toward motorists attempting to pass the semi.

Witnesses also reported seeing smoke from the trailer wheels during the vehicle's descent down the canyon.

UHP inspected the semi and trailer and found both had functioning brakes, however they stated at the time of the crash they appear to have been too hot to function correctly.

"The driver was not familiar with driving in a mountainous environment and drove in such a manner as to cause the brakes to overheat," UHP wrote. "Those brakes failed to operate properly as he descended the hill and attempted to stop at the intersection, thus causing the vehicle to slam into the building."