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Smaller veicles at risk, also, when strong winds blow across Tooele County

Oct 25, 2021, 5:32 PM | Updated: 7:43 pm
(One of four semi rollover crashes being cleared by Highway Patrol.  Photo: UHP)...
(One of four semi rollover crashes being cleared by Highway Patrol. Photo: UHP)
(One of four semi rollover crashes being cleared by Highway Patrol. Photo: UHP)

TOOELE COUNTY – Strong winds created a messy and dangerous commute for drivers on I-80 in Tooele County on Monday.  Several semis toppled because of the high winds, which brought traffic to a standstill.

Before noon, a long line of had pulled off to the side of I-80 near mile marker 84.  Drivers had been warned about winds strong enough to blow over trucks and high-profile vehicles in Tooele County.  Drivers like Kurt and Brenda Service were trying to drive to Reno with their camper trailer, but Kurt didn’t feel it was safe to drive through those winds.

“[With] Crosswinds at 50 to 60 miles an hour, it’s hard to keep this thing in my lane,” he told KSL NewsRadio.

He said he believes too many drivers overestimate their ability to keep control of their vehicles in high winds.  He also thinks too many people believe the warnings for “high-profile” vehicles on windy days only apply to semi-trucks.

A UHP trooper restricting traffic near a toppled semi. Photo: UHP

“Lots of these big trailers are tall enough to qualify for ‘high profile,’” Service said. 

“We just kind of knew better,” said his wife Laura Service.

The Services decided to take shelter near the I-80 exit at 7200 West.  Brenda Service says she’s seen too many rollovers in her life to take a chance in the wind.

“There is a valley between Carson City and Reno that has really bad wind, and being in the area my entire life, we’ve seen people blow over many, many times,” she said.

By noon, officials said there were four separate semi-rollovers on I-80, and another on a Tooele City street.  Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Cameron Roden said one particular three-mile stretch of I-80 seemed to be hit the hardest.

“Most of these crashes have occurred between mile markers 78 through 81,” Roden said.

Crews were able to keep one lane open in both directions of the freeway so traffic could get through.  However, speeds were incredibly slow as officials tried to clear up these crash sites.  By two p.m., the weather restrictions between mile marker 99 and the Nevada border had been lifted.  Roden says, luckily, no one was seriously hurt.

Roden warns all drivers to be more mindful of what can happen during strong winds.  Even if you can keep control of your car, Roden says dust storms can significantly reduce visibility.

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Smaller veicles at risk, also, when strong winds blow across Tooele County