A Wendover man was killed while standing or walking near Interstate 80 early Monday morning.
Sgt. Nate Powell of the Utah Highway Patrol, said a driver reported an animal carcass in the westbound right lane of the interstate at about 3:30 a.m. Upon closer examination, however, the animal carcass turned out to be the body of a 20-year-old Wendover man, said Powell.
“The first person who drove by called in and said they thought it was a deer in the travel lane. Obviously when officers came and investigated, it wasn’t,” he said. “Their bodies are about the same size and it was dark. It’s not hard to believe that someone would think it was a deer.”
Powell said troopers were able to determine the identity of the victim by some of his belongings. Pieces of the vehicle that apparently hit him were also found on the scene, he said, but came from the vehicle’s undercarriage and could not be traced to any specific vehicle.
Powell said based on the condition of the victim’s body, the man was hit either once by a vehicle with several axles, such as a semi truck, or multiple times by a more common vehicle like a car or truck.
“We have a few pieces of a vehicle, so we’re looking for any vehicle that has front-end damage, because there’s a piece from under the car that could be from anything,” Powell said. “We’re looking at all the parking lots and casinos [in Wendover].”
An examination by a medical examiner would be necessary to narrow down the reasons for the man to have been on the highway at that time. Powell said current theories include an attempt to cross the interstate, walking along the side of the road for some reason, or being intoxicated. Blood tests will, however, take several weeks to complete, he said.