I-15 now open following messy accident

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Tuesday morning's commute was more like a winter barbecue. In North Salt Lake it was thousands of quarter-pounders, hold the cheese. In Morgan County the freeway was covered with thousands of bottles of beer.

It wasn't the weather but a drowsy driver that caused problems on Interstate-15 this morning. A semi trailer flipped, spilling its load onto the road. Drivers are finally able to head north on I-15, but for hours this morning the freeway was closed while Utah Highway Patrol cleaned up the spilled hamburger patties.

UHP's Sgt. Anthony Carrubba said, "We've had everything from hamburger to eggs spilled all over the freeway, and it's just always a hassle to clean up."

The 43,000 pounds of 100 percent all-beef patties ended up along both northbound and southbound I-15 after the Kelle's Transport driver fell asleep. His rig hit the barrier wall and his trailer hit the sign post, nearly ripping it in half and sending thousands of McDonald's patties into oncoming traffic.

Clint Mackay was surprised to hear it was a hamburger hassle. "Is that why they have the ice trucks out there scraping? Oh my gosh," he said.

Mindy Christensen took side streets. She said, "It pays to listen to KSL Newsradio." She added, "When I came across on North Temple I looked up and I saw it was still backed up. I thought, I'm glad that's not me."

Utah Highway Patrol says the only thing that kept this meaty mess from being a disaster was timing. "If this had happened at 7 o'clock, it really would have been a mess, we would have had thousands of motorists stranded on the freeway with nowhere to go," Carruba said.

UHP say the driver had only been on the road for about 25 minutes when he fell asleep.

Kelle's Transport says the patties were on the way to a distribution center and not an individual McDonald's store.

In Morgan it wasn't a lack of sleep that caused another semi to roll but rather winter conditions. Driver Chuck Sanders said, "I came around that corner, and it broke traction."

Sanders says he was driving the speed limit on I-84 when he hit a snow-covered section. He says he started to slow down, but it was too late and his trailer started to slide.

"It's the first accident I've ever had, I'm amazed that it happened that quick, you just don't expect that to happen," he said.

The drivers from both semi trucks ended up being able to walk away from their crashes without major injuries. Their trailers, however, are considered a total loss. As for the product, or what's is left of it, it will be destroyed.

Both drivers were cited for failure to say in their lanes.

Elsewhere, snow slowed the commute in some parts of northern Utah, particularly Box Elder, Weber and Davis counties. Wrecks also were reported in Sardine and Provo canyons. In Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, vehicles are restricted to four-wheel drive or chains.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com


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Mary Richards and Shara Park


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