Police: Fiery crash stresses importance of clearing windshield before driving

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OREM — Authorities say a woman was lucky to escape a fiery crash uninjured over the Christmas weekend, and are using the crash as a cautionary tale of the dangers motorists may face if they decide to drive before clearing ice or snow off their windshields.

Emergency crews responded to a report of a crash near 800 North and 400 West over the weekend, according to Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez.

The driver had failed to clear frost or snow from the windshield and did not see a concrete median that she then struck and drove over, he said.

“She continued to try to drive over it, which then led to some metal sparks, which ignited the fuel there,” Martinez said.

The vehicle was totaled in the crash and resulting fire.

The driver of the vehicle was not identified, and it was unknown if she would face any charges, Martinez said. However, he added that the motorist learned a lesson he said he hopes other drivers take to heart.

Failing to clear a windshield of any sort of debris is considered an infraction, according to Utah State Law. It has also resulted in more disastrous consequences in the past.

In 2013, a Provo woman pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of a 69-year-old bicyclist she had struck with her vehicle. Prosecutors alleged her windshield hadn’t been properly cleared at the time of the crash. The bicyclist died after he was pushed into the path of an oncoming FrontRunner train.

Martinez added the crash over the weekend could have had similar results and that it’s a simple task that takes just 2 minutes to complete.

“People just get in such a rush to get to work, to make it to an appointment, that they think they can skimp time on clearing out their windshield when really that’s one place they shouldn’t be skimping time at,” he said. "You’ve got to be able to see.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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