A serious auto accident on Interstate 80- at the Tooele and Salt Lake County lines left one dead and another critically injured. It also caused the highway to be closed for several hours on Saturday, June 13. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the victim was Mark Neilson of Magna, Utah.
The crash happened at about 11 am, when Neilson's Dodge Dakota crossed the median and hit a FedEx triple-trailer head-on. Part of the FedEx truck was packed with ammunition. The severity of the crash started a fire that caused some of the ammunition to go off and engulfed the cars in flames.
The initial investigation revealed that Neilson was cut off by a white pickup truck that fled the scene. Authorities publicized the description of the truck, and Tuesday morning the driver of the truck's daughter recognized the description and turned her father into authorities for questioning.
After being cut off, Neilson crossed the median through a turn-off in a cable barrier. Neilson was burned beyond recognition in the accident and the driver of the FedEx truck was flown to University Hospital in critical condition. I offer my sincere condolences to the Neilson family as they grieve this loss, and wish the driver of the FedEx semi-trailer a speedy recovery.
It is still unclear what role the driver of the white pickup played in this accident. From the news reports, it sounds like he may have been the one who set the crash in motion if he did in fact cut off another driver. If a driver suddenly merges into your lane, the instinct is to move out of the way to avoid the crash. That may have been what happened here. If in fact it was the negligence of the driver of the white pickup that caused Nielson to take corrective action to avoid the crash, then that driver would be legally responsible for the chain of events that naturally followed from his actions. We know that the driver was questioned and released. We’ll wait to hear what if any charges may be filed against this individual.
Ron Kramer is a personal injury attorney with offices in Bountiful, Draper and Provo, Utah.