I-80 was closed following a semi accident in early December. On Monday the 2nd, the Utah Highway Patrol reported that an accident had occurred around 7:55 pm. A semi had collided with the median near highway mile 172, and the impact caused a rollover. The crash killed the driver of the semi truck, Robert Carpenter of Caldwell, Idaho. Carpenter was 46.
The exact cause of the accident remains under investigation. Highway Patrol trooper Todd Johnson called in the initial report, saying that he suspected that Carpenter may have suffered a medical condition or event that caused him to lose control of the vehicle.
The truck’s cargo was fortunately non-hazardous and did not spill onto the highway. However, the truck still crashed in such a way as to completely shut down Interstate 80’s westbound lanes. Traffic had to be diverted onto a nearby frontage road until the truck and debris could be cleared from the highway.
Perhaps most unusually, this was the second such accident to close I-80 in Utah’s Summit County in a week. In the earlier accident, a fuel-tanker was rear-ended by another semi truck while both were moving along the eastbound lanes where I-80 shares a route with US-40. The accident did not cause any fatalities, but it did close down traffic in both directions for four hours. Again, traffic had to be diverted onto frontage roads in order to avoid the closed-off area of the highway.
Each accident showcases a particular danger caused by semi trucks for other motorists on the highway. A semi truck driver can be driving in complete control of his vehicle and in full compliance with all safety directives. However, if the driver has a heart attack or stroke, losing control of his vehicle will still disrupt traffic and potentially hurt or kill people. And if a semi collides with another semi, the damage done can be massive, and the wreckage can take hours to clean up.