Emery County wreck kills 3, injures 4


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The Utah Highway Patrol has released the names of three victims of a deadly rollover crash on State Route 24 in Emery County.

According to UHP Darren J. Westerfield, 47, and two of his stepchildren, Tyler Keep, 15, and Alisa Keep, 7, died in the wreck. Four other people were taken to Castleview Hospital in Price. A trooper said two of them were in critical condition.

The family's truck was towing a boat with another trailer carrying jet skis behind that. The trailer started swaying; the truck left the road and crashed between Hanksville and I-70.

Emery County wreck kills 3, injures 4

Jeff Hoggan manages Boater's World in Salt Lake City. He says even an experienced boater probably would have had trouble under the circumstances. "Towing is a white-knuckle operation," he said.

He says the double-trailer might have been to blame, but speed can be a factor and so can maintenance.

"Trailer towing is not fun anyway, but to add a second trailer behind another trailer is just compounding everything, because you just risk that something's going to go wrong twice," he said.

He says common sense and an owner's manual are the best defense. He says just like you wouldn't pilot an airplane without performing safety checks first, every time you hook up a trailer, you should make sure it's up to the challenge.

Emery County wreck kills 3, injures 4

"That your lug nuts are tightened, that your air pressure is at the proper inflation for towing a boat, and that your bearings are greased," he said.

He says you also shouldn't hit the brakes suddenly if you do find yourself fishtailing. That could compound the problem.

Hoggan says you also need to make sure your vehicle is rated to tow what you're taking.

There's no trailer safety course or basic requirements for towing in the state of Utah. "Basically there's no education on trailer towing, and there should be," Hoggan said.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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