LAKETOWN – A Rich County deputy, Jon Nichol, was hit by a semi-truck Tuesday morning while trying to direct traffic away from another crash. The accident occurred just after 10:30 in Laketown Canyon, SR-30, east of Bear Lake.
Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cade Brenchley said Nichol and a trooper were responding to a semi that had rolled in the canyon, after travelling too fast for the winter weather conditions. As the trooper was investigating, Nichol was just east of the crash at a runaway truck ramp.
At the same time, a second semi travelling westbound lost control, coming down the grade and struck Nichol while he was outside his patrol truck. The semi continued on, missing the truck ramp and striking some rocks.
“The deputy saw [the semi] coming and couldn’t tell which direction he was going because he was kind of weaving, as he adjusted his steering,” explained Brenchley. “The deputy didn’t know which way to run.”
Nichol suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. It was originally reported that both legs were broken, along with an ankle and wrist. Doctors later determined that only his elbow was broken. He also had lacerations to his head and hip. He was transported to Logan Regional Hospital.
Brenchley said an officer from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources witnessed the truck hit Nichol. He was the first person to get to him.
“He was pretty shaken up; he is friends with [Nichol]. He said he walked over to him and [Nichol] said ‘I think both of my legs are broken.’ That was one of the first things he said. He was in a lot of pain and couldn’t talk much after that.”
The semi driver, who is from Florida, suffered some minor injuries and was also transported to Logan Regional Hospital.
Brenchley, who was struck less than a year ago in a similar type accident in Sardine Canyon, said Tuesday’s crash is a reminder of how important it is to slow down, especially during winter storms.
“Look at the roads, look at your tires, the situation around you, the weather and just slow down. You don’t have to be somewhere so badly that you need to go faster than your vehicle can handle.”
The canyon was shut down in both directions while crews cleaned up and investigated the scene.