MURRAY — A Battalion Chief for the Draper City Fire Department is expected to make a full recovery after he was hit by a car on southbound I-15 Thursday evening.
"We are so relieved to let you know that our Battalion Chief who was struck by a car last evening on I-15 is doing well. He does not have any broken bones and is recuperating in the hospital," a Facebook post from the Draper City Fire Department said.
Battalion Chief Bart Vawdrey was flown to Intermountain Medical Center after he was struck, but Draper City officials said he didn't suffer any broken bones or internal injuries.
"He’s doing really well," said Draper City spokeswoman Maridene Alexander late Thursday night. "We are just elated to report that he’s doing really great."
Vawdrey was initially reported to be in critical condition.
Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Nick Street explained that Vawdrey had responded to a two-vehicle crash between 14300 and 14600 South on southbound I-15.
One vehicle had pulled over to the right shoulder, and the other to the left shoulder.
While a UHP trooper helped the vehicle on the right shoulder, Street said, Vawdrey pulled over to help the driver of the vehicle on the left shoulder.
When Vawdrey got out of his SUV, another car going too fast in the icy conditions lost control and hit him. The car spun around backward and pinned Vawdrey to the bumper of the car he was trying to assist, Street explained.
According to Alexander, Vawdrey saw the vehicle lose control and he was able to jump partially out of the way.
"He’s a tough guy. So if anyone would survive this, it would be him," Alexander said. "He’s just that kind of guy, so I’m just-- it didn’t surprise me when I heard that he was able to kind of escape any terrible injury this evening."
She said Vawdrey will stay overnight in the ER at IMC in Murray, so doctors can monitor him. Alexander indicated Vawdrey's family is grateful he will be coming home and making a full recovery.
"We just are so happy to report he’s doing so well. He’s talking, and he’s a tough guy. He really is," she said. "So, we’re just pleased to see he’s doing so well."
UHP troopers responded to more than 150 crashes Thursday, including a 16-car pileup on SR-201.
Street warned drivers to slow down and leave extra space in front of them. UHP and UDOT indicated that the icy conditions will persist in the coming days.
Draper Fire Chief Clint Smith released the following statement Friday:
Last night Battalion Chief Bart Vawdrey was struck by a vehicle on I-15 while tending to victims involved in car accident. Battalion Chief Vawdrey was treated by his own crews from Draper City Fire Department and transported by LifeFlight to Intermountain Medical Center. We are extremely grateful that his injuries are not life threatening and that he will make a full recovery. Battalion Chief Vawdrey’s injuries could have been avoided by simply slowing down for the current weather conditions and paying attention to the surroundings. Firefighters and law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day for the protection of others. We plead with everyone to please slow down , eliminate distractions, and focus on their surroundings when traveling in adverse weather conditions. Please watch out for our firefighters and police officers that are working on the roadways to keep us all safe and move over to give them the safe area they need to perform their duties. It is a miracle that we are able to talk about awareness today and not what the outcome could have been. Thank you to the overwhelming outpouring of support that Draper City Fire Department has received on behalf of Battalion Chief Vawdrey and his family.