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UPD writes tickets for new law in Cottonwood Canyons after snow causes crashes and slide-offs

Posted at 7:06 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 21:06:40-05

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Monday's winter storm made the mountain roads a mess up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, leading to crashes and slide-offs.

It also meant the Unified Police Department wrote tickets for a brand new law that just took effect in recent months.

On Monday morning, UDOT restricted the roads to 4-wheel drive or chains only.

Even with the plows coming through, conditions were slippery and the fast-falling snow stuck to the road.

It's been a while since the Cottonwood Canyons have been like this, with snow on the ground and long lines of cars waiting for crashes to clear.

Taylor Pratt waited in his truck at the front of the line, stopped for a commercial truck that overturned on its side. No one was injured, but it took a while to open the road again.

"I checked the UDOT camera to see if I could make it up," Pratt said. "I didn't think they'd still be trying to get this guy out of here."

Crews used a couple of winches to pull the truck back on its wheels. A bunch of equipment on the truck toppled out as they did so, making for more delays and extra cleanup.

UPD said the truck was going slow, but that didn't matter. It still slid and tipped over.

"This lovely weather in which that we're having has been forecast for quite a number of days now," Detective Lee Arnold with UPD said. "It came down, and people weren't ready."

A couple miles up the canyon, he said a few vehicles including a cement truck got into a crash that injured one person.

It served as a good reminder for people who passed by.

"It is dangerous, it really is," said driver Sam Holder. "You've got to make sure you've got the right tires."

This winter, it's now the law to have snow tires when driving up the canyon.

"When you know if you are going to come up the canyon -- whether it's a bluebird day, or a snow day -- you need snow tires on your vehicle," Det. Arnold said.

He indicated that they handed out their first-ever ticket Monday for that new law.

Drivers like Holder and Pratt, who came prepared with tires and 4-wheel drive, still had to suffer from the long waits.

"I'm getting prepared to do that the rest of the winter," Taylor said, with a chuckle." But I mean, we're getting snow. So it's good."