Freezing fog keeps troopers ‘pretty busy’ clearing morning crashes near Cedar City

CEDAR CITY — Rolling into an unexpected thick layer of freezing fog may have played a role in causing the driver of a semitractor-trailer traveling nouthbound on Interstate 15 to lose control near Kanarraville Sunday morning, ripping through the barrier and ending up resting facing the southbound side.

According to a post on the Utah Highway Patrol Twitter account, troopers south of Cedar City were “pretty busy” clearing the scenes of a few slide-offs after the fog impacted the roadways in Iron County before burning off later in the morning.

The scene of a semitractor-trailer accident on I-15 near Kanarraville, Utah, Feb. 23, 2020 | Photo courtesy Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

Just after 8 a.m., witnesses reported seeing a semi slide into the median near mile marker 47 and jackknife, destroying a long stretch of cable barrier and spilling its load of shelving across the freshly-fallen snow from the previous night.

UHP trooper Corporal Colton Freckleton told St. George News when units arrived, the driver of the semi was nowhere to be found and the exact circumstances that led to the accident are still unknown. As of this afternoon, they were still trying to look for the man that apparently fled from the scene.

“It was too fast for conditions, clearly,” he said. “The semi-truck was just left there in the median.”

He went on to say that witnesses to the accident stated to troopers that a registered nurse pulled over to respond to the accident just as it happened. Witnesses said the nurse told them the driver needed medical attention and transported him to the hospital herself.

“But they’ve actually gone to some of the hospitals and they haven’t been able to find him,” Freckleton said.

The scene of a semitractor-trailer accident on I-15 near Kanarraville, Utah, Feb. 23, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Annie Heath, St. George News

A police hold has been placed on the semi until further notice as they locate the driver to hear his account of the incident.

He said no citations will be issued until they find the driver and investigate as to why he didn’t stay on scene.

“It was a little scary I’m sure,” he said.

Freckleton said the other slide-offs were minor and no injuries or significant damages were reported. They were also a result of the weather and traveling too fast for conditions.

“In between that 4-5 mile range in that area, there was huge fog and a lot of icy roads,” he said. “They plowed and they laid salt and sand down, but it just didn’t help.”

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