One accident last Wednesday led to another, and the loss of life and tragedy that resulted seems hard to comprehend. The weather was terrible last Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 15 near Cedar City and a multi-car pile up occurred. A young couple on the way to Las Vegas for their wedding on Friday was involved and for them, the outcome was incredibly tragic.
There were three separate crashes between mileposts 34 and 36 involving 13 vehicles that occurred in succession. The first crash involved two semi tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles. One of the tractor-trailers dumped its load of hay in the accident and that closed down the southbound lanes. Five vehicles stopped because of that crash, but an oncoming tractor trailer headed the same direction was unable to stop for those that stopped before it. It crushed a Kia Spectra between two semis and as a result, the 25-year-old bride-to-be was killed instantly. Her fiancé survived with serious injuries that resulted in the loss of part of one arm. Then another car crashed into the back of the tractor trailer that crushed the Kia.
Meanwhile, in nearby St. George, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper heard the call relating to the accidents on Interstate 15 and began to respond. He engaged his siren and lights and headed for the freeway to offer his assistance. At the same time, two elderly sisters were headed to an LDS ward house for a Relief Society meeting when they crossed paths with the trooper. The sisters, ages 71 and 75, turned left in front of the trooper and were hit – both died as a result of their injuries.
Without question, several people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But there is often a citation to weather as the "cause" of accidents. Weather does not cause accidents, people do. There is no indication that the people who lost their lives or who were injured in the accidents referenced here were in any way responsible for what happened to them. But this series of events serves as a sober reminder that we all must be vigilant when it comes to assessing developing situations around us. Lives depend on it and we owe it to ourselves and each other.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.