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New Mountain View Corridor intersection sees multiple crashes in just days

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 00:47:34-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — WEST VALLEY CITY — Caleb Chorn was heading home from work, on the brand-new leg of Mountain View Corridor Monday evening.

As his truck, along with other traffic, approached 3500 South southbound, Chorn could see a huge problem in front of him.

"Where I slammed on my brakes is where I saw her coming, and I'm like, 'She's not stopping,'" he recounted. Black skid marks show where Caleb halted his Dodge pickup truck right before the intersection.

Chorn watched as a red Dodge Challenger turned in front of him from Mountain View northbound, onto 3500 South going west, smashing right into the pickup truck next to him. From there, it cascaded into a domino effect, hitting an SUV and two other cars.

"I'm 100 percent positive we had a green light," Chorn said. "She seemed like she didn't. She was not planning on stopping."

His girlfriend warned him about this, Chorn said. He had already heard about the other crashes just days prior.

"She's like, 'Mountain View's scary. I wouldn't go on it,'" he said, of what his girlfriend told him.

It may be just under two weeks old, but the 3500 S Mountain View Corridor intersection has already seen three crashes-- all three of them in a span of just over three days.

Related: Crash forces closure of Mountain View Corridor in West Valley City

All three crashes appear to involve a driver not stopping at a red light.

On Saturday, witnesses told Fox 13 that a driver in a pickup truck ran a red light on 3500 S at Mountain View Corridor heading westbound, crashing into a landscape truck hauling a trailer heading south on Mountain View.

That caused the landscape truck to flip on its side, hitting a box truck and two other cars, witnesses said.

The day before that, West Valley Police said a dump truck and four cars were involved in a serious crash that left a 7-year old girl in critical condition in the hospital.

"We are seeing a high rate of people that are running red lights," said John Gleason with the Utah Department of Transportation. "These crashes that involve red light running-- It's just people that are trying to beat the light, they're driving too fast, and they're not slow down, and they're trying to get through that intersection when the light's already changed."

According to statistics provided by UDOT, the number of Mountain View Corridor crashes caused by someone running a red light is more than double the number of crashes caused by someone running a red light on Bangerter Highway.

That number is more than four times the number of crashes caused by drivers running a red light on US-89 in Layton.

In addition to running red lights, Gleason said drivers often speed, going more than 80 miles an hour on the 65-mile an hour highway.

He talked about how their engineers chose the 65-mile an hour speed limit because that's the speed they determined to be safe. At 3500 S, UDOT built an intersection with one light, versus the two lights at many other Mountain View Corridor intersections.

Gleason described how the design for the intersection was created to help move large volumes of traffic through limited amounts of space safely and efficiently. It's what the intersection will look like once 3500 S becomes a full-functioning highway interchange at Mountain View. Gleason said they decided to build it that way now at 3500 S, even though other Mountain View intersections don't yet feature that same design.

They've implemented changes over the years, Gleason indicated, to help keep drivers safe.

"We put in the programmable signal heads, we added advance warning signals that let people know when they're approaching a light that was about to change," he said.

Related: Mountain View Corridor expansion makes life easier for drivers

After the crashes Friday and Saturday, Gleason said traffic engineers went out and studied the 3500 S intersection on Saturday and again on Monday.

The lights are functioning how they're supposed to, but Gleason added that the traffic engineers noticed drivers were not always following the lights.

According to Gleason, most of the red-light runners appear to be trying to squeeze through the intersection on the left turns. But because the intersection is so wide, it takes longer for them to make that turn.

"A lot of behaviors are at the root of some of these crashes," Gleason said.

That's exactly what Chorn described in the crash on Monday. No one appeared to be seriously injured, though Chorn watched the driver of the pickup truck the woman hit next to him go to the hospital, after the driver of the truck said he was experiencing pain in his arm.

"We have a green light for sure. The cops have asked me multiple times. We had a green light," he said. "Either [the driver] beat light, she ran a red light-- I don't know. But she wasn't stopping."