SALT LAKE CITY — A semitrailer carrying two tankers of crude oil smashed into a cement barrier Tuesday, disrupting the morning commute.
The semi was traveling west on I-80, heading to the north I-15 interchange, when the driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle around 1 a.m.
"The driver states that he reached down to change the radio station. At that time he drifted off to the right, crashed into the crash attenuator and the barrier," Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Donavan Lucas said.
The trailer in the rear of the semi became detached, after that "the other trailer rode the barrier for a little ways," he said.
A second vehicle hit debris from the accident, but no one was injured. The driver of the semitrailer also escaped unscathed.
The semi's fuel was leaking after the accident. Crews had to empty the oil out of the truck before moving it from the area because the truck was too heavy to lift otherwise.
"We're worried that if it were to break ... it's like a pop can. If you were to twist a pop can," Lucas said.
"We're really lucky with this one as far as if one of those tankers would have burst open we probably would have had to evacuate the area a little bit and, you know, been a bigger mess than what it is," he said.
Lucas cautioned drivers to be aware of their timing when performing activities such as changing the radio.
"A curve such as this, it's not a good time to change the radio station. You wait another 10 minutes or five minutes or less to change that thing to a different station."
Traffic was backed up on I-80 and on I-15 northbound through the morning commute Tuesday. The interchange between westbound I-80 and northbound I-15 remained closed Tuesday morning while crews cleaned up the scene.
Contributing: Andrew Adams