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Confusion may be cause of multi-vehicle crash that left 9 injured, police say

(KSL-TV)


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HERRIMAN — Nine people are recovering after a wrong-way driver collided head-on with a family minivan on Mountain View Corridor Saturday night.

Police say they spoke with the teenager who they say caused the accident to find out why he went the wrong direction onto the highway.

Police say the driver didn't even know he was going the wrong way until seconds before the collision.

“It sounds like he had no idea he was traveling at the speed, the posted speed limit, which is 55 miles per hour,” said Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell. “It sounds as if he did not know he was traveling the wrong direction.”

Police says the confused driver is 16 years old and had another 16-year-old in the passenger seat. The driver was traveling north in the southbound lanes for just a few minutes when he hit a white minivan, carrying a family of seven.

The driver was supposed to turn right on North Mountain View Corridor, but he missed it or didn't see it, and continued about 100 yards and went the wrong direction into incoming traffic.

Police say the focus of the investigation is on whether the driver was distracted or just not paying attention.

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“There were no intoxication issues, there were no otherwise distractions that they could discover, but they had two 16-year-olds in the car, they said it might be more or less inexperience on their part that kind of led to this tragedy,” said Bell.

Police aren't yet releasing the names of those involved, and it's unclear whether the young driver will face charges, but the investigation suggests it was an accident.

“The collision was a tremendous collision and tons of damage was done to those vehicles, but the kids suffered no serious injuries because they were all wearing seat belts,” Bell said.

The two front-seat passengers suffered the worst injuries and are at a hospital tonight.

Everyone is expected to survive.

Contributing Jed Boal

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