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Fatigued semi driver crashes through guard rail barrier on Highway 89, south of Mount Carmel

According to a report from Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), a semi-truck drifted off Highway 89 near Mount Carmel junction on Sunday, September 17. The truck went directly through a roadside barrier, ultimately crashing at the bottom of the hill below and ejecting the driver with serious injuries. The incident occurred around mile marker 79, just after 4 p.m., and did not involve any other vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Utah Department of Transportation.

Per UHP, the cause of the crash was driver fatigue. The report to the press states that the driver, a 53-year-old man who operates out of Tucson, Ariz., fell asleep at the wheel, which resulted in the vehicle not making one of the steeper curves along that portion of 89. Local witnesses observed the steep nature of the drops along the roadside in the area, noting the relative good fortune of the truck going down the hill rather than one of the more sheer cliffside turns.

The driver was ejected from the cab as the vehicle impacted the ground at the base of the hill, and was transported by air to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Emergency medical services were on the scene within minutes of the incident occurring, with law enforcement - Highway Patrol in charge of the incident, aided by more local agencies - responding not long after to manage traffic and allow for cleanup.

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Highway Patrol did not comment on the specifics of the truck’s cargo, only stating the cargo was not hazardous material.

The impact left significant debris at the base of the hill, and cleanup operations were underway within a day. Temporary barricades were erected in place of the damaged guardrail while repairs are completed.

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