A Utah Highway Patrol trooper was hit Sunday afternoon while investigating a crash in Sardine Canyon, US 89/91.
UHP Lt. Lee Perry said Sgt. Cade Brenchley was outside his vehicle, between “big curve” and the mouth of the canyon, checking on accident victims when he was struck by another motorist.
“Sgt. Brenchley pulled up to a car that had slid off the road and another car that was on its side, Perry explained. “As he got out of his patrol car and started to walk up to the first car that had slid off the road, at about 14 minutes after 5 p.m., he got hit by another car that lost control and slid into him.”
The impact pushed Brechley into the car he was walking up to. He was temporarily knocked unconscious, broke several ribs and his scapula. He was transported to the hospital for treatment.
Heavy snowfall at the time of the accident had made road conditions slick. All together, there were six crashes and five slide-offs within a 20-minute period. No one else was hurt.
Perry said they feel very lucky that Brenchley’s injuries were not more serious. The accidents are a stark reminder of the importance of driving cautiously during inclement weather.
“When you are driving and you see one car off the road, you need to get your foot off the gas, and especially if you are coming up on something that is off the road, don’t hit your brakes. That is probably what set this up. The poor gal that hit him, saw it, panicked and hit the brakes, and that caused her to loose even more control, sliding, where she couldn’t control where she was going at that point.”
The canyon was closed to all northbound traffic for over an hour, and southbound traffic for about 15-minutes, while troopers cleared the scene.
Perry visited Brenchley in the hospital Sunday night. He couldn’t remember being hit but still had his sense of humor.
“In fact he was joking with me and asked if I would get his college paper done because it is due.”
Brenchley should be released from the hospital within the next day.