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Front Page » November 15, 2005 » Local News » U.S. 6 Accidents Claim Three Lives
Published 3,612 days ago

U.S. 6 Accidents Claim Three Lives

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Sun Advocate reporter

Helper Auto prepares to tow a 1998 Chevy from the scene of a Nov. 10 fatal accident on U.S. Highway 6 while fire crews battle to extinguish a burning UDOT building near the Scofield Junction. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the eastbound Lumina reportedly crossed the center line and collided with a westbound semitrailer, The truck caught fire and veered off the highway, down an embankment into the shed. The accident claimed the life of the motorist operating the Chevy, 22-year-old Wellington resident Lance Sandstrom, and seriously injured the 21-year-old truck driver.

Two accidents on U.S. Highway 6 last Thursday and Friday brought traffic on the highway to a stop.

The first accident occurred on Nov. 10 at approximately 11:30 a.m. A white 1998 Chevrolet Lumina, traveling east on the highway, reportedly crossed the center line and collided with a westbound semitrailer operated by Swift Transportation at milepost 217 in the canyon near a Utah Department of Transportation snow plow staging station.

The car collided with the driver side door of the truck, which was reported to be carrying merchandise to a Target store. The truck caught fire and veered off the highway, down an embankment and into a shed at the UDOT facility.

A 22-year-old resident of Wellington, Lance Sandstrom, who was driving the Lumina was killed in the accident.

The driver of the truck, 21-year-old Robert White, was transported from the accident scene by medical helicopter to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for treatment of burns and respiratory complications.

A spokesperson for Utah Highway Patrol said both drivers were wearing seatbelts when the collision occurred.

Law enforcement have been unable to pinpoint the reason that Sandstrom crossed the center line, a matter which remains under investigation.

The shed was a lean-to structure measuring approximately 30 feet by 50 feet and was completely destroyed by the crash and fire.

Reports indicate that nothing was in the shed at the time.

What brought greater concern was a large propane tank located a few yards from the shed.

The risk of explosion and the possibility of chemical hazards at the UDOT station led officials to stop traffic along the highway halted in both directions.

Traffic was rerouted to U.S. highways 191 and 40 through Duchesne and Heber while emergency crews battled the flames.

A separate incident occurred early Friday morning which resulted in the death of two drivers.

At approximately 1 a.m. on Nov. 11, two semis crashed on U.S. Highway 6 at milepost 280, south of Woodside in Emery County.

The semitrailers operated by Tommy Newell, age 45 of Salt Lake City, and Murey Odell, 35 of Payson, reportedly collided head on into each other.

Newell, who was hauling magazines, reportedly drifted across the center line and hit the truck hauling wood trusses driven by Odell. Reports from Utah Highway Patrol indicated that the truck caught fire.

Officials closed the highway and directed traffic to alternate routes.

The contents of the trailers fueled the fire and the flames were to hot that they melted portions of the roadway and aluminum from the trailers melted onto the asphalt. Firefighters were actively fighting the flames until 10 a.m. and crews could not clear the wreckage from the road until approximately 11 a.m.

The heat from the fires and the debris from the fire caused extensive damage to the surface of the road. As a result, the highway did not reopen until around 2 p.m. after UDOT crews resurfaced the damaged section.

UHP officials said weather does not appear to be a factor in either incident.

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