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Unified firefighter killed in I-80 crash

By Nicole Gonzales | Posted - Sep. 12, 2010 at 9:21 p.m.



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MAGNA -- Firefighters are grieving the loss of one of their brothers, killed in a car crash while driving home from work Saturday.

Bruce McGowan, 45, was a firefighter and paramedic with the Unified Fire Authority.


Bruce is just one of those guys that you loved to be around. Bruce is full of life, loved to live life. He made the station an enjoyable place to be.

–Battalion Chief Clint Smith


He was driving on Interstate 80 on his way home to Midway after working a partial shift at the Magna station Saturday night. Troopers say as he approached Parley's Summit around 8:30 p.m., the driver of a westbound Jeep Cherokee lost control, crossed over the median, launched into the air and hit McGowan's Volkswagen Jetta on the driver's side.

McGowan died at the scene. The driver of the Jeep, a Murray man in his early 20s, was treated for minor injuries.

Firefighters at the Magna station are having a difficult time digesting the news. "This is a very somber day for Unified Fire Authority," said Battalion Chief Clint Smith. "We are a family in the fire department."

Bruce McGowan was killed in a crash on Interstate 80 Saturday
Bruce McGowan was killed in a crash on Interstate 80 Saturday

McGowan had worked for Unified fire since 2004. He spent the last four years serving as a paramedic. He leaves behind a wife and two small daughters.

"He is one of those individuals who would do anything for anybody, whether he knows you or not," said Smith.

Word of his death spread quickly through the department.

"Bruce is just one of those guys that you loved to be around," said Smith. "Bruce is full of life, loved to live life. He made the station an enjoyable place to be."

Troopers say the driver of the Jeep was clearly speeding at the time of the accident, driving at somewhere around 80 miles per hour. He was headed to the Salt Lake area from Park City, and investigators say alcohol made have been a factor as well.

"There was alcohol present in his system," said Lt. Garrard Moren with the Utah Highway Patrol. "Not enough to place him under arrest for DUI, but he did have alcohol present in his system last night."

Investigators are looking into where the driver was before the crash. They want to know the timing of his alcohol consumption, as well as how much he was drinking.

They're working to obtain receipts and any other documentation they can forward to the district attorney. No charges have been filed at this point.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

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Nicole Gonzales

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