Carnage claims lives on local highways
by Bill Boyle
San Juan Record Editor
A series of recent crashes has resulted in the deaths of five motorists on the highways in San Juan County.
Sergeant Charlie Taylor, of the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), begs local residents to take steps to lessen the carnage on the roads.
A three-vehicle crash on Highway 191 near the intersection with Needles Overlook Road claimed the life of two people on September 14. Fatigued driving is suspected of being a contributing factor.
The following day, a single car crash on Peters Hill north of Monticello claimed the life of a 20-year-old Monticello man. High speeds and alcohol are suspected of contributing to the crash.
Later that day, a single vehicle rollover on Highway 163 just north of Monument Valley claimed the life of a passenger in a vehicle.
The driver is suspected of driving under the influence and criminal charges are pending.
On Sunday, a local resident was killed in a four-wheeler rollover east of Monticello.
They are not the only recent fatalities. On August 17, a young college student in her 20s was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 191 near the Needles Overlook Road. Distracted driving is suspected as a contributing factor to the crash.
On September 5, a motorcyclist was killed on Highway 95 near Zeke’s Hole, 15 miles southwest of Blanding, when he attempted to maneuver a turn at high speed. Speed and fatigue may have contributed to the crash.
On September 19, a driver was severely injured on Highway 191 north of the Arizona border. The driver rolled several times. The driver survived, but was ejected, amputating his left arm.
Taylor outlined the top five enforcement goals of the UHP, asking residents to “think about these five issues and ask yourself where you can improve.”
Taylor said that the five issues were contributing factors in the recent fatalities.
The five areas include 1- High speed driving 2- Inadequate seatbelt use 3- Equipment problems, highlighted by tires and brakes 4- Distracted and fatigued driving, and 5- Driving under the influence, including alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine.