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Man killed in multi-vehicle pileup that caused daylong closure of I-80

(Utah Highway Patrol)


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COALVILLE, Summit County — A man was killed, and at least 16 others were injured in a multiple-vehicle collision on westbound I-80 near Echo Junction Monday morning, officials said.

Semitruck driver Oscar Longoria, 61, from Missouri, died as a result of the crash, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

The pileup accidents happened at about 7 a.m. on westbound I-80 near the intersection of I-84 (Echo Junction), according to officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety officials.

The first collision involved 12 semitrucks and two cars, UHP Lt. Harley Watkins said. An additional four crashes followed over the next half-mile.

None of the semitrucks involved in the crash was hauling hazardous materials, according to UHP.

A medical helicopter and several ambulances responded to the fatal accident. Watkins said one person was flown to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden in critical condition, two were taken by ambulance to Park City Hospital with injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening, and 13 people with minor or no injuries were transported by a school bus to a church in Coalville to stay warm.

The roads in the area were very snowy and icy, but people "chose to drive into the scene way too fast for the existing conditions and caused a chain reaction," Watkins said. "It was a very significant crash. In 18 years, this is one of the worst I've ever seen."

The westbound lanes of I-80 were closed just before 7:30 a.m. and reopened shortly before 8 p.m.

Eastbound I-80 was also closed about 11:30 a.m. but reopened to "one lane off and on," about 12:45 p.m. while UDOT snowplows cleared the area., Watkins said. UDOT tweeted that all eastbound lanes were reopened at about 4:30 p.m.

Watkins said the fatal collision is a good reminder to not drive too fast for conditions.

"This is exactly why we preach speed too fast for existing conditions is the primary cause," Watkins said. "In the winter months, when you're driving in these rural remote areas, we do need to slow down. That's it. It's got to be an individual decision."

Bad weather also affected other areas of I-80 Monday morning. Two lanes were temporarily closed on westbound I-80 near 1300 East. The lanes were reopened just before 8 a.m., but delays were backed up to Foothill Drive for a while during the morning commute, according to the KSL Traffic Center.

Accidents were also reported on I-15 and I-215 during the morning commute, according to KSL Newsradio. Department of Public Safety officials tweeted that, as of Monday morning about 11 a.m., there had been a total of 125 crashes in 24 hours, including 16 with injuries and one fatality.

Contributing: Caitlin Burchill

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