Two drivers lost their lives in a head-on collision early on Wednesday, Nov. 2, near Sage Creek Junction in Rich County, Utah.
A press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety states that at about 6:06 on Wednesday morning, a black Toyota Camry headed westbound and a gold Buick Century travelling eastbound close to Sage Creek Junction collided when the Toyota crossed the centerline for an unknown reason.
The driver of the Toyota, 45-year-old Jason Sterett of Bountiful, Utah, was sitting on top of his buckled seatbelt at the time of the collision, while 46-year-old volunteer fire captain Dennis Rasmussen of Garden City, Utah had his properly secured in the Buick. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Lane closures were in place for approximately five hours during the investigation.
United Mine Workers of America Chapter 1307 President Martin Argyle was in Rasmussen’s passenger seat during the accident, and was moved from the scene to a nearby hospital, where he recovered from severe injuries. Argyle has since been released from the hospital. The Gazette was unable to reach anyone to comment further on Argyle.
Rasmussen had been a Garden City volunteer firefighter for 20 years, developing a reputation as a mentor to his friends and colleagues. Garden City Mayor Mike Leonhardt requested that all flags in the city be flown at half-mast until sunrise Nov. 7, in commemoration of Captain Rasmussen.
A Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant offered precautionary advice which may be suitable during the change of seasons. “As we move into winter,” he said, “make sure you have good tires and that your vehicles are in good condition. That way, you can make sure everyone makes it home safely.” He advised drivers to avoid driving on bald tires, as doing so increases the risk of a crash.
The crash is still under investigation.