Driver of Semitruck that Plunged Down Ravine in Hurricane Identified As Former Judge

Photo Courtesy: Hurricane Police Department

HURRICANE, UTAH – August 28, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — A man who died when a semitruck traveling on SR-59 tumbled 200 feet into a ravine has been identified as a former Utah judge who was removed from the bench in 2006 for being a polygamist.

Hurricane Police Department identified the driver as Walter K. Steed 70, from Hildale, Utah.

At approximately 10:41 a.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to a report of a semitruck that had gone off a cliff in the area of SR 59 and 500 North.   It was reported that the semi and driver had left his home town on Saturday evening and had not been heard from since.   He was traveling out of state to pick up a trailer.  Since he had not been heard from in several days, he was reported missing on August 25 to the Hildale Police Department.

A group of people were checking areas to see if they could find the semi and saw what they believed to be the semi at the base of the cliff.

Hurricane City Police Department, Hurricane Valley Fire District and Washington County Search and Rescue responded to the location of the semi and found Steed deceased inside the cab of the semi.  It appeared the semi had been there for several days.

Investigators were able to find tire tracks showing where the semi left the roadway and traveled along the dirt and brush area and then went over the cliff. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. 

According to The Utah Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report 2005, the JCC recommended Hildale Justice Court Judge Steed was removed from office for engaging in the practice of plural marriage in February 2005. The recommendation was then pending before the Utah Supreme Court. Judge Steed had served as a part-time justice court judge continually since 1980. The report said: “He is legally married to one woman, and has been sealed in ceremonies to two other women. He is a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and engages in plural marriage as a practicing member of that faith. All of the participants were adults at the time they entered into the respective marriage relationships, and all entered into those relationships consensually. The JCC found that Judge Steed willfully engaged in bigamy, in violation of Utah law.”


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