Report: Driver inexperience, brake problems caused fatal semi crash in Garden City

A truck ran into Pugstones Sporting in Rich County. Photo: Utah Highway Patrol

GARDEN CITY, Utah, Oct. 26, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Investigators believe an Oct. 10 semi crash that killed the driver, injured his passenger and smashed into a sporting goods store was caused by the driver’s inexperience with negotiating mountainous terrain.

The truck’s brakes may have been overheated and non-functional when he tried to make a turn from U.S. Highway 89 onto State Route 30. The truck overturned and slid into Pugstones Sporting, causing structural damage to the store, which was later demolished, a Department of Public Safety report says.

“Our findings are: The driver was not familiar with driving in a mountainous environment and drove in such a manner as to cause the brakes to overheat,” the report says.

“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.”

The driver, who died, has been identified by Utah Highway Patrol as 31-year-old Ahmed M. Abdelgader, of Omaha, Neb.

The name of his passenger has not been released. The DPS statement released Friday said the passenger is still being treated at Ogden’s McKay-Dee Hospital for his injuries and is in serious condition.

The truck, owned by MA Logistics of Omaha, Nebraska, was carrying a load of butter to a Colorado destination.

“The semi entered the intersection at a high rate of speed and the driver attempted to make a right turn onto Bear Lake Boulevard (SR-30). The semi went over the curb as its trailer began to overturn,” the DPS statement says.

“It slammed into a building and the trailer struck the stop sign. It continued to overturn and struck the building. The trailer swung to the left, causing a partial jackknife as the semi continued farther into the building.

“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.”

Pugstones sustained extensive damage and destruction of products, the statement says.

“Pugstones was a total loss and had to be demolished.

“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.”

A Utah Highway Patrol safety inspection was performed on the semi’s brakes, and found they were functional.

“However, at the time of the crash they appeared to have been hot and were therefore not functioning normally.”


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