The dramatic crash was caught on video and prompted Utah Department of Transportation officials Friday to warn drivers to stay behind snowplows.
Terry Jacobson, a 23-year veteran of UDOT’s snow removal services, was westbound on U.S. 6 when a semitrailer attempted to pass his snowplow on the right. Investigators say the semitrailer caught the wing of the plow and forced it off the road, pushing it across oncoming traffic and through the guardrail before it went rolling down a 300-foot embankment.
The safety features of the plow kept Jacobson alive, but the passenger side of his vehicle was destroyed, said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. Utah Highway Patrol troopers were able to quickly respond, and a number of motorists stopped to help extricate Jacobson from the crash, he said. The driver of the semitrailer stopped immediately and cooperated with the UHP.
“The safest place to be is behind these trucks at all times,” Braceras said Friday. “A good rule of thumb is about a football field of distance.”
Had the semitrailer not attempted to pass, this collision would have been avoided, he said.
Jacobson is still recovering from the incident. Utah supervisor Neil Lundell, noted that he is heavily bruised and sore, and may have a concussion, but he is expected to recover.