Utah Highway Patrol investigators say brake failure led to a semi crash in Garden City two weeks ago that left one man dead and destroyed a business.
“The driver was not familiar with driving in a mountainous environment and drove in such a manner as to cause the brakes to overheat,” a UHP press release said. “Those brakes failed to operate properly as he descended the hill and attempted to stop at the intersection, thus causing the vehicle to slam into the building.”
Two men from the Midwest, the driver and his co-driver who was in the sleeper, were on their way to Colorado with a truckload of butter in a 2000 Kenworth semi truck owned by MA Logistics of Omaha, Nebraska.
“Several witnesses who had either been passed by the semi or had followed the semi described a very erratic driving pattern through Logan Canyon. They indicated at times the driver of the semi was driving into oncoming traffic, driving across multiple lanes, and swerving into motorists as the semi tried to pass. Witnesses further reported smoke coming from the trailer wheels as the semi came down the canyon,” the UHP reported on Friday.
As the driver of the truck made the final descent out of the canyon into Garden City, he was unable to slow the truck and he approached the T-intersection at a high rate of speed.
At 6:36 p.m., 31-year-old Ahmed M. Abdelgader of Omaha attempted to make a right-hand turn from U.S. 89 onto Bear Lake Blvd. (S.R.30), setting into motion a violent crash that was captured on a security camera at a gas station across the street.
The Utah Highway Patrol report described the impact of the truck as it slammed into the building and the trailer overturned.
“As it came to rest, it caused debris to strike and damage an adjacent building. The momentum of the contents of the trailer (butter), caused the butter to continue out of the trailer into the building,” the report states.
The truck was so deeply embedded into the building that it could not be safely removed until the building was demolished five days later.
Utah Highway Patrol investigators has completed a safety inspection on the vehicle, specifically the brakes, and determined that the truck and trailer both had functioning brakes.
However, at the time of the crash they appeared to have been hot and were therefore not functioning properly.
Both of the men in the truck were taken by ambulance to Logan Regional Hospital on the night of the crash in extremely critical condition and later flown out of the valley. Abdelgader died of his injuries. His co-driver, Mobark A. Sharif of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is still in the care of McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, where he remains in serious condition.