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33 crashes, 3 deaths caused by wrong-way drivers in Utah so far this year

Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 23:55:56-05

There have been 33 crashes involving a wrong-way driver in just the first two months of 2022. Three of those crashes resulted in someone's death.

Greg Workman was riding his motorcycle on I-15 on Feb. 20 when he was hit and killed by someone driving the wrong way.

Monday afternoon, friends and family met up at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake to have one final motorcycle ride as Workman was taken to his final resting place.

That ride was led by his good friend Stephan Burgin, who was there the night Workman was killed.

"We didn't want this loss just to be another motorcycle death," said Burgin. "This is this is one that affected us a lot because Greg ... rode with everybody, no matter what bike you had."

The crash that killed Workman also injured three other people.

"I hate to say this, but it seemed like a consistent problem over the years," said Major Jeff Nigbur the Utah Highway Patrol assistant superintendent.

UHP provided FOX 13 News with these numbers, detailing the number of wrong-way crashes and fatalities, dating back to 2019.

In 2019, there were 313 wrong-way crashes across the state, 12 of which were fatal.

Those numbers went up the following year in 2020 with 340 crashes statewide. Twenty-one of those crashes ended in someone's death.

This year, UHP has had to work seven wrong-way crashes.  One of those incidents involved their own trooper, Devin Henson, using his car to stop someone driving down I-15 the wrong way.

Major Nigbur says they are trained to handle what he calls a "wrong-way intercept."

"I think we've seen this several times over the past couple of weeks, but where we try to take out the rear quarter panel or get them to spin out in a different way and/or — which we don't like to do — is take them head-on, but it does happen, and hopefully we can get them stopped," he said.

That's why Major Nigbur is urging people to make good, conscious decisions before even getting behind the wheel of their car.

"People die in these crashes and it's unfortunate and it just didn't need to happen in the first place," he said.

The UHP is encouraging safe driving in order to prevent incidents that he says are not only violent, but impactful — like for those closest to Workman.

"I know if it would have been me in that accident, not Greg, he would be riding here for me," said Burgin.

According to the UHP, 51 people have died in wrong-way crashes since 2019.