Taggarts among the deadliest areas of I-84 in Morgan County

Taggarts among the deadliest areas of I-84 in Morgan County

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According to figures released by the Utah Department of Transportation, more vehicle accidents along Interstate 84 occur near the Taggarts and Mountain Green exits than anywhere else in Morgan County. The deadliest stretch of I-84 through Morgan County is near milepoint 104îbetween the Morgan City and ranch exitsîwhich has been the scene of two fatal crashes in the last five and a half years. County leaders are not surprised at the location of a majority of these accidents and fatalities. On average, 109 accidents occur each year along I-84 in Morgan County each year. Since 2010, seven people have died as a result of accidents on I-84. Taggarts More vehicle accidents occur on the westbound stretch of Interstate 84 in the one-mile segment near Taggarts and milepoint 107 than anywhere else on I-84 through Morgan County. From 2010 through the first half of 2015, 36 accidents and one fatality have occurred there. But that same site used to be much more dangerous, said Morgan County Councilman Austin Turner, also a former county sheriff deputy and ambulance volunteer. Before 2000, that Taggarts area was averaging two to three semi rollovers each month. One month even saw two fatalities in the one area. As the state and Morgan County were gearing up for the 2002 Winter Olympics, flashing cautionary signs were installed at the site to warn drivers to slow down for curves. Turner attributes the drastic drop in accidents and fatalities there to those cautionary signs. But even with those signs flashing, fatalities continue in the area. On July 6 of this year, a BMW motorcycle was travelling westbound at excessive speeds near mile marker 107, the last curve on the west side of Taggart, according to Utah Highway Patrol media reports, when the vehicle lost control and driver John D Millar was killed when he impacted the cable barrier. UHP troopers suspected that the motorcycle may have been cut off or made contact with a semi prior to the accident. Turner said the Taggarts area typically experiences a lot of wind coming out of the canyon, which drops temperatures and creates ice more than normal. The ice there just doesnt melt off, said Morgan County Councilman Logan Wilde, who lives to the east in Croydon. Just east of Taggarts is where, on March 28, 2014, 14 vehicles piled up and a semi truck struck and killed Brooklyn Preator at mile marker 109.5. Mountain Green The one-mile segment of I-84 near mile marker 91îwhere a bridge spans the Weber River on the border of Weber and Morgan Countyîis a busy one for vehicle accidents as well. Westbound I-84 there experienced 32 crashes between 2010 and the first half of 2015. Eastbound I-84 there had 28 total crashes there in the same time period. Turner said that motorists near mile marker 91 get used to driving at freeway speeds and fail to slow down for the turns there. On Nov. 5, 2011, I-84 was closed in both directions at mile marker 90îor horseshoe bendîduring the first winter storm when roads iced up. One car spun out of control, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped to assist, and car after car spun out behind the initial accident in a chain reaction. What resulted was a 20-car pile-up, including four semis, and a fatality when semitrailer driver Mithat Nurko slipped and fell 50 feet to his death on the train tracks below. Five people went to area hospitals in critical condition while another five were in less serious condition. While the 60 accidents combining both east- and westbound accident figures just west of the Mountain Green exit outpace Taggarts figures over the past five years, it is important to note the de-icing improvements that have been made in that area by road crews in the last few years. Emergency responders expect to see fewer accidents there now because of the improvements. The system has helped a lot, Wilde said. Milemarker 104 While more accidents occur at mile markers 91 and 107, more deaths occur westbound at mile marker 104. On Dec. 14, 2011, a Volkswagen Jetta was traveling westbound in the area at 108 miles per hour before crashing into a rock wall and rolling. The force of the crash dislodged the engine and ejected both passengers, who were pronounced dead at the scene, according to UHP media reports. An accident there earlier that same yearîon Aug. 3, 2011îalso resulted in a fatality. By the time people realize they are going too fast there, it is too late, said Turner, who is familiar with mile marker 104 because he lives nearby. That is a sweeping turn, where people have a hard time navigating and end up bouncing off the guardian or side of the cliff, Wilde said. This may have been the case when a fatality occurred on June 3, 2014, just west of mile marker 104. Investigators say the 17-year-old driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel traveling eastbound when his Ford Ranger left the roadway to the right, overcorrected back to the left, rolled over the cable barrier, crossed all lanes of traffic, and came to a rest in westbound lanes at mile marker 103.13. Another fatality in the last five and a half years included mile marker 98.5 on March 2, 2011, near the Enterprise Road overpass when a vehicle traveling eastbound crossed through the median and hit a westbound vehicle head on.

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