A mountain lion was hit by a vehicle traveling westbound through Weber Canyon, Friday, July 15. The driver, Isaac Beus, who is a local resident of Mountain Green, was involved in the incident.
When interviewed for comment, Beus shared his account of the unfortunate event.
During his test drive of a Dodge Charger, Beus made his way on I-84 through the canyon at approximately 9:30 p.m.; as he rounded the corner of MM 90, located near the mouth of the canyon, the animal jumped directly into the path of the vehicle, entering from the right hand shoulder of roadway.
Beus stated that he never saw it coming, and the animal was hit. The impact caused the vehicle’s airbags to deploy, severely limiting his visibility as he carefully braked before coming to a complete stop on the side of the road.
After dialing 911, several passersby offered their assistance, one of which coincidentally happened to be Beus’s neighbors, Lance and Joy Peterson residents of Mountain Green
“I’m not surprised at all that my neighbor would be kind enough to stop to check on what [they] thought was a stranger, ” Beus commented.
While waiting on Utah Highway Patrol to arrive at the scene, Beus exited the vehicle in an attempt to flag down and warn other drivers. It was clear the cougar was injured as a result of the first impact and it remained in the roadway as a hazard to oncoming traffic.
A Toyota Prius was the second vehicle to hit the animal. The mountain lion died as a result of injuries sustained from both impacts.
There were a total of four occupants between the two vehicles but none were injured in the incident; neither driver was cited for speeding or any other cause. The incident can simply be attributed to nighttime driving which impacts visibility, and the unpredictability of wildlife.
Beus mentioned, “ I feel grateful I was in the car I was test driving and not my Corvette…otherwise it might have killed me.” He was also relieved to be alone and not with his family at the time of the accident.
Sgt. Cameron Roden of UHP shared a reminder to the public regarding vehicle accident safety, stating, “The safest thing in any type of crash is to pull over the shoulder and remain in your vehicle with the seatbelt fastened until responders arrive at the scene to assist.”
This recent incident prompted many in the community to inquire about the status regarding the proposed wildlife crossing on the stretches of I-84 impacted by wildlife traffic. Many are concerned for the safety of drivers as well as for the safety of animals who attempt to cross the highway in search of water; others have expressed their frustration over the new construction that may be driving these animals beyond the safety of their natural habitat. While these incidents will never be eliminated completely, many local residents are proponents for a bridge crossing in an effort to reduce the likelihood of incidents, preventing unnecessary injury or death for the region’s wildlife.