Crash on U.S. 6 kills motorist

Semi driver injured in fire caused by collision

By Jeremy Twitchell
Deseret Morning News
SPANISH FORK CANYON An accident on U.S. 6 claimed the life of a Carbon County man Thursday.
Fritz Holly/KSL-TV Chopper 5Firefighters put out a blaze started by a semi when it ran off the road after a collision. A car's driver was killed in the crash. It was the fourth accident in three months in the canyon, and the second involving a fatality.
Killed was:
Lance Sandstrom, 22, Wellington.
About 11:30 a.m., Sandstrom was traveling east on U.S. 6 near the Scofield turnoff when the car he was driving crossed the median and collided with a semitrailer truck traveling in the opposite direction, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.
Sandstrom died at the scene. The semi driver lost control and ran off the road, where the truck ran into a small building owned by the Utah Department of Transportation and caught fire, Royce said.
The semi started a small brush fire near a large propane tank. Officers closed U.S. 6 in both directions for about 2 two hours while the fire was contained, Royce said.
The semi driver was transported by medical helicopter to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo for treatment of minor burns and smoke inhalation. He was expected to be OK, Royce said.
The accident remains under investigation. Sandstrom and the semi driver were wearing seat belts, Royce said.
Thursday's accident happened three months to the day after a semi trailer hauling 35,000 pounds of explosives rolled and exploded on U.S. 6, 26 miles west of Thursday's accident, Royce said.
The explosion destroyed a 70-foot stretch of U.S. 6, creating a crater with an estimated depth of 30 feet. It also took out rail lines and telecommunications cables.
Deseret Morning News graphic The canyon was closed for about a day and half while crews scrambled to repair the damage. The total estimated cost of the accident was close to $600,000. The driver of the truck, Travis Stewart of Idaho, was charged with two class A misdemeanors for allegedly causing a catastrophe and reckless endangerment and a class B misdemeanor for alleged reckless driving.
Stewart also may be asked to repay the repair costs, which could top $600,000 when the U.S. Forest Service provides a figure for how much it spent to fight the multiple brush fires the explosion caused.
Two other major accidents have occurred on U.S. 6 since then. On Aug. 30, one man died when he rear-ended a dump truck in the pickup he was driving.
On Oct. 26, a semi trailer hauling apples rolled over and spilled its cargo across the eastbound lanes of U.S. 6, causing the road to be closed for the afternoon and evening.