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UHP: Memorial Day traffic stats cause for both pride, and sadness

Published May 30, 2013 9:58 am

Crackdown • Troopers fail to prevent three deaths but make 135 DUI stops vs. 85 in 2012.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Highway Patrol's review of statistics from 2013's version of its Memorial Day weekend crackdown gave troopers cause for both pride and sadness.

"We're never happy when we have fatalities, especially when we did everything we could think to do to prevent them," UHP Cpl. Todd Johnson said Thursday. "We took a data-driven approach in placing our troopers in identified problem areas from previous years" along with generally beefing up UHP presence throughout the state.

Still, a motorcyclist — who was not wearing a helmet — was killed Sunday when he collided with a sport utility vehicle that pulled into his path in Provo Canyon. Earlier, as the holiday weekend began, a Provo couple died when their motor home apparently lost a front tire and crashed off Interstate 15 near St. George.

Last year, UHP wrapped up the Memorial Day weekend with no fatalities — the first time in a decade a Memorial Day weekend had passed without a traffic death.

However, troopers this year did make 135 DUI stops compared to 85 in 2012.

"The way we look at it, those 135 DUIs may have meant 135 potential crashes and some possible fatalities were prevented," Johnson said.

Troopers investigated 90 accidents in all this year, about the same number as last year, UHP stated.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims