CEDAR CITY – A semitractor pulling a flatbed trailer crashed Friday morning after the driver failed to navigate a curve while heading up a mountain.
Authorities responded to reports of the crash at milepost 9 on state Route 20 in Iron County at around 9:20 a.m.
According to police reports, a semi hauling paving equipment was driving east when it ran off the road to the right and into a ditch.
“The driver had fallen asleep and failed to negotiate the eastbound curve,” Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Bairett said in an email to Cedar City News.
The driver was found uninjured but the semi sustained extensive damage, he added.
State Route 20 runs approximately 20 miles through Iron and Garfield Counties and begins at exit 95 on Interstate 15, just 14 miles north of Paraogonah. The highway heads east and southeast through a pass between the Markagunt Plateau and the Tushar Mountains.
Trucks are often routed from I-15 and U.S Route 89 onto SR-20 in preference to state Route 9 and state Route 14 to avoid steep grades and switchbacks required to cross the Markagunt Plateau, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.
However, SR-20 is still considered a difficult route, featuring seven percent grades on the approaches to the 7,910-foot summit. Oversize vehicles are required to have a pilot escort.
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