Crash closes 400 S., totals beloved Ford

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

Anthony Martinez loved that car.

He’s taken it everywhere8212;San Jose, Los Angeles8212;you name it. Pick a highway in the western United States and Martinez and his white Ford Contour have driven it. Thursday morning Martinez unexpectedly took a trip down the highway to Hell.

“I didn’t see him coming,” said Mike Nelson, chairman of the U department of mining engineering. Nelson, in his blue Dodge Dakota, was heading northbound on 1300 East. He turned left onto 400 South when Martinez ran into him. Nelson’s truck had a bent front bumper, but the Contour8212;well, the whole front end looked as if The Incredible Hulk kicked it in.

Nelson had been waiting for pedestrians to clear the street before taking the turn. He wrote in his incident report that the morning glare was in his eyes and he didn’t see Martinez coming. The light changed. Martinez wasn’t expecting him either.

“How are you doing sir, are you OK?” the 20-year-old Martinez asked, offering a hand of condolence to the chairman. Nelson nodded an affirmative, and the two watched the U Police and Salt Lake City Fire Department clear the intersection. U Police shut down a block of the westbound lane of 400 South from 7:45 a.m., when the accident happened, until 8:43 a.m., when the tow trucks finally dragged the damaged cars off the road.

“That car’s been in the family for 12 years, man,” Martinez said. “We’ve been everywhere.”
Nelson, on the other hand, thanked God it was his truck that he was driving Thursday morning and not the brand new Corolla he and his wife had recently bought. And unlike Martinez, who doesn’t think he’ll ever drive his car again, Nelson said he might be able torepair the front and be back on the road before long.

Neither man said they were injured, but Martinez continued to rub his clavicle for the latter half of the accident cleanup. He said he would get it checked out, but he can’t afford it.
The potentially untreated injury would have been the only souvenir for Martinez of his highway companion, until he saw something glimmer in the gutter.

Off in a 400 South gutter, after the scene had been cleared, Martinez found the dislodged grill of his Contour8212;the one that had collected bugs guts of every size, shape and color in their travels across deserts, forests and farmland.

“Alright, I’m keeping this,” he shouted, excited. He held to his chest and played it like an air guitar. “This is great.”

Mike Mangum

A car accident involving the mining engineering department chairman Mike Nelson and a man named Anthony Martinez, 20, closed sections of the intersection of 1300 East and 400 South on Thursday morning.