LOGAN — Police have released the identity of a man who died in a fiery crash Wednesday afternoon near Wellsville, as Utah Highway Patrol troopers were trying to pull him over. The accident also sent a second driver to the hospital with severe burns.
Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said 26-year-old Marcos Torres of Brigham City was pronounced dead at the scene. He was driving a black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck on US-89/91, when he veered into oncoming traffic, hitting a semi-truck head on. The semi was being driven by William Gray of Rigby, Idaho.
Torres was travelling southbound near 6200 S when the crash occurred. Investigators believe he accelerated and ignored troopers, who had just initiated their lights and sirens, attempting to pull him over.
“The speed of the pickup truck was well in excess of the posted speed limit, at the point of impact,” Jensen said. “As a result of the violent impact, there was an immediate explosion and a fire.”
Minutes before the crash police dispatch operators issued an “attempt to locate” for Torres’ vehicle after another motorist called 911, stating the truck was driving recklessly. The witness claimed the black Chevy Silverado was swerving all over the road near the American West Heritage Center. They also said Torres was seen throwing a beer can out the window.
Jensen said Gray is a reserve police officer. He was transporting a full load of sand and was injured severely in the accident.
“He got out of his vehicle on fire and was extinguished by a Highway Patrol trooper. Medical crews transported Mr. Gray to Logan Regional Hospital, where he was later air-lifted to the University of Utah Hospital for care.”
The crash occurred in the median, completely blocking all southbound traffic and partially blocking northbound. Motorists were diverted for over nine hours while officers investigated the crash and cleared the scene.
Because troopers were in pursuit of Torres at the time of the crash, Logan City Police officers were called to investigate the accident. They interviewed witnesses and tried to reconstruct what happened.
As part of their examination, Jensen watched dash-cam video of the crash. He said it appears the trooper did everything correct, from the time he initiated his lights and sirens, to the crash occurring 10-seconds later.
“It appears to me to be good judgement making. Good communication on the radio from the troopers, I mean they’re doing the right things. Obviously post-accident, those guys are heroes. They did everything just right. From shutting down the highway immediately and then seeing to patient care, they did a fantastic job.”
Jensen said investigators are still trying to determine Torres’ motive or cause for swerving into the semi, and whether or not he was impaired.
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