Five people were injured following a crash in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah on January 24, with the entire incident being caught on the dashcam of a nearby vehicle.
The video shows the driver of a large pickup truck traveling up the mountain lose control of the vehicle around a gentle bend. Unable to recover the out-of-control truck, the driver rams into a Subaru traveling in the opposite direction, pushing it over the edge and down the snow-covered embankment, where the truck also ended up.
According to KSLTV, the two vehicles slid down to the river below. Authorities quickly arrived on the scene and closed the road in both directions for several hours as rescue teams worked to extricate the individuals trapped in the two vehicles.
All five individuals were treated and taken to a nearby hospital before authorities began the arduous process of removing the vehicles. Rescue crews needed to use two tow trucks to pull up one of the vehicles.
Speaking with KSLTV, officials revealed that the Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department prioritized removing the vehicles from the river to avoid watershed contamination, rather than helping those stuck on the snow-covered road due to the accident get down the mountain.
Justin Manikowski was stranded in his car with his girlfriend and three young children for several hours along the mountain road as crews worked to remove the two vehicles. He thought the priority should have been to help those stuck on the road before pulling up the cars.
“The priority should be getting people out of this canyon first and then bringing up the big heavy crew to close the roads to get those stuck vehicles,” Manikowski told KSLTV. “We already burned through our reserved gas for the last four hours.”