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Man turns to Google for alternate route and rolls vehicle

By Marc Giauque  |  Posted Jul 30th, 2008 @ 12:27pm



 

The ripple effects of a tanker rollover in Davis County are still being felt by many people today, by some more than others.

Salt Lake City police say a 27-year-old man was trying to go north to Bountiful. He pulled up Google Maps on his cell phone to find an alternate route.

Instead of heading home, he ended on a four-wheeler trail somewhere above City Creek Canyon near 5500 East and 1900 North.

Detective Jeff Bedard, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Police Department, said, "He was about seven miles or so off-road." Bedard said the man eventually rolled his Jeep Liberty.

Bedard says it underscores the limitations of services like Google Earth and Google Maps. He says, "If you look at something from a bird's-eye view and just think, ‘I'm gonna get from point A to point B,' if you're going over the top of the mountain, that's not necessarily gonna be the easiest way."

Police officers and sheriff's deputies came to his rescue. They're also investigating whether he did something illegal.

A lot of other cars became casualties to the backups. The Utah Department of Transportation's Incident Management team responded to seven abandoned vehicles. It also helped 20 drivers who had dead batteries in their vehicle, ran out of gas, or whose vehicles overheated.

UDOT says vehicles like the one in the rollover are typically allowed by their permit to be on freeways, but not during peak time, which is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The accident occurred around 3 p.m.

UDOT estimates that stretch of freeway probably carries between 25,000 and 30,000 cars per hour at peak times. A spokesman says the Legacy Highway, which is scheduled to open in September, could cut traffic in the area by as much as a third.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

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