Crash on U.S. 40 near Strawberry Reservoir leaves 1 dead

HEBER CITY — A Uintah County man died Monday following a crash in whiteout conditions on U.S. 40 near Strawberry Reservoir.

Investigators said it appears Craig L. Batchelor, 51, of Vernal, was speeding when his pickup truck crossed into oncoming traffic just before 5 p.m.

The pickup, which was heading east, crashed into a westbound tanker truck hauling crude oil, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

After the initial collision, the tanker truck hit a sport-utility vehicle that had been driving just in front of it. The SUV had been traveling at about 20 mph with its hazard lights on due to poor visibility caused by falling and blowing snow, troopers said.

Batchelor’s pickup rolled onto the driver’s side, doing extensive damage to the truck and pinning Batchelor inside. He was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene, troopers said.

A passenger in the pickup was properly restrained and suffered minor arm injuries, troopers said.

The tanker truck lost its left front tire in the crash and came to rest blocking all eastbound and westbound lanes. None of the crude oil in its tanks spilled, despite the collisions with Batchelor’s pickup and the SUV.

The driver of the SUV was taken to Heber Valley Medical Center for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The driver of the tanker truck was uninjured, troopers said.

The crash closed U.S. 40 for about four hours.

— Geoff Liesik