UHP Assigns Blame in Yesterday's Pileup

UHP Assigns Blame in Yesterday's Pileup

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News Specialist Jill Atwood reportingAs if yesterday's pileup on Interstate 80 wasn't bad enough, now adding insult to injury, citations will start going out to those drivers who failed to control their vehicles.

The Utah Highway Patrol says a lot of people involved in yesterday's accident will get speeding tickets.

It sounds like common sense -- slow down or stop if you can't see. But apparently a lot of people didn't do that yesterday, and now they are going to pay.

One look at this tangled traffic mess and it would seem impossible to sort out who hit whom, or who started what. But the Utah Highway Patrol says it is in the process of mapping out exactly what happened and who's at fault.

"We're using the diagrams, the witness statements, the photographs, the video, digital pictures and the helicopter video," says Sgt. Phil Waters with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Yesterday's disaster was of course triggered by the fog, but UHP says it was also triggered by careless drivers speeding on black ice.

"You can show when someone has rear-ended someone else that they were traveling too fast for the road conditions, so that's pretty simple. We all have a duty to slow down in bad weather and inclement vision," Waters says.

"But you know, one driver handled yesterday's situation to a tee. This bus driver right here. In fact, he handled it so well, 18 of his 20 passengers called UTA."

Peter Schneider has been a driver for 18 years and has logged a million miles with no accidents. If he were going to mess up yesterday would have been the day. He says cars were driving past him at reckless speeds.

"I don't know how to explain this. It was like you shoot them out of a cannon. They come right past us and plowing into all of these cars that were already wrecked," Schneider says.

But he says once passing cars started to immediately disappear into the soup it was time to pull over and stop. That's when he opened his bus to other accident victims shivering in the cold.

"Every other driver would have done the same thing. You have to react to the situation in front of you and hope you do the right thing. In this case, I guess it was," Schneider says.

We're told his passengers gave him a standing ovation. He seemed pretty shy about the whole thing.

The UHP says about 25 citations will go out. The woman critically hurt under the semi yesterday is still in critical condition at LDS hospital.

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