Winter road conditions contribute to student’s death


    By Lacey McMurry

    Utah Highway Patrol officials said winter road conditions were a major contributing factor in an automobile crash Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004 that killed one BYU student and injured another. Christopher Hunt, 23, was killed when the car he was riding in fishtailed and spun across the median into oncoming traffic. Jeremy Hunt, the driver of the automobile, was also injured in the accident and has been admitted to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center with neck and back injuries, according to a Utah Highway Patrol Report.

    The Hunts were driving down state road U-189 in Provo Canyon when the accident occurred. After crossing the median, their vehicle collided with a pickup truck. The driver and passenger of the pickup were not injured in the crash, and charges have not been filed at this point, said Ken Peay, Highway Patrol commander for Utah County.

    Peay said slick roads caused Jeremy to lose control of the vehicle.

    “The weather played a huge part in the accident,” he said. “Road conditions were really unsafe, especially in the canyons.”

    Peay also cited excessive speed as a contributing factor and estimated the vehicle”s speed was 50 mph at the time of impact.

    Christopher died at the scene of the accident and officials from the Utah Valley Medical Center pronounced him dead around 10 a.m. Saturday. Funeral arrangements have been made for Feb. 14, 2004 at 12 p.m. The funeral will be at the Manilla 1st ward building, located in Pleasant Grove at 2600 N. 900 West. The viewing is scheduled from 10 a.m. until noon.

    Christopher”s death was one of the two reported fatalities from automobile accidents last weekend. Snowy conditions Friday, Saturday and Sunday lead to an increased number of accidents across the state.

    The Utah Highway Patrol reported 163 accidents between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday.

    “There were many, many accidents on Saturday alone,” Peay said. “Not 200 feet from where the Hunt fatality occurred, two people were critically injured in the same type of an accident. Almost all of these accidents were caused by inclement weather and bad roads.”

    Peay said drivers are often over-confident in the ability of their vehicle to stop quickly on slick roads.

    “The big thing in snowy weather is that drivers need to be extra courteous,” said Karen Mayne, information officer for the Provo Police Department. “Driving aggressively is just not worth the risk.”

    Mayne said there are many things drivers can do to ensure their safety in snowy conditions. The first and most important step is to slow down. “It”s really hard to tell if the roads are icy just by looking at them,” she said. “If it has been cold, slow down and drive with caution.”

    Drivers also need to make sure they are following the car in front of them at a safe distance and completely clear all mirrors and windows of snow and ice. New tires and car maintenance is also especially important in the winter, she said.

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