PROVO — The driver of a motorcycle is dead after crashing into an SUV Sunday, one of several fatalities that have marred the holiday weekend.
Police received a call at 4:22 p.m. of a crash between a motorcycle and Chevrolet Blazer on state road 189 in Provo Canyon, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
The Blazer was eastbound and drove to the right to make a U-turn. While turning around, it pulled in front of a motorcycle carrying a driver and passenger, also driving eastbound. The motorcycle hit the back bumper of the Blazer and "went down," according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
The man driving the motorcycle, identified as 42-year-old Brett Blanco, was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene of the crash, police said. Blanco's 12-year-old son, who was riding on the back of the motorcycle, was wearing a helmet and was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.
No one in the Blazer was injured.
Blanco was one of four fatalities recorded by the Utah Highway Patrol as of Sunday evening, according to Corporal Todd Johnson, Utah Highway Patrol public information officer.
"That's just far too many [fatalities]," Johnson said.
This number does not include accidents responded to by other agencies, such as the Sunday morning crash that killed a man and the horse he was pulling in a trailer in Eagle Mountain.
Traffic fatalities overall this year have been lower than in years past, according to data from Zero Fatalities. But traffic deaths picked up this weekend, Johnson said.
No one died on Utah roads during Memorial Day weekend last year and only one death the year before.
"We've done the same things this year but unfortunately we've had some terrible accidents still."
The weekend began with two deaths early Friday morning. A recreational vehicle drove off I-15 in St. George, plowed through one home and crashed into another, killing the driver of the RV, Susan Clark, 53, and Steven Clark, 55, who was in the front passenger seat. The eight other passengers in the vehicle were not killed.
Johnson had familiar advice to those who will still be traveling this weekend.
"Buckle up, restrain your children, maintain a safe speed. Be responsible if you're going to consume alcohol. Don't drive drunk. Just be looking for any problems around you when you're traveling and try to react to them as safely as possible."
Highway patrol officers were scheduled for 300 additional shifts this weekend and are stationed in high-risk areas.
In Provo Canyon, investigators were still working to determine the cause of the motorcycle accident as of Sunday night. Early reports showed that speed, alcohol and drugs were not thought to be factors, police said.
All eastbound roads were shut down after the accident. Johnson encouraged drivers heading through Provo Canyon Sunday evening to safely find alternate routes if possible.