FRUIT HEIGHTS -- A Davis County man cited for failure to secure a mattress that fell off his vehicle and led to the death of a motorcyclist hopes the tragedy can prevent such accidents in the future.
Gerald Holgreen, of Fruit Heights, said he sent a letter to the family of Royce Munns, of Brigham City, to apologize and express sorrow over the accident Monday night on Interstate 15 in Box Elder County.
"I just want the family to know I'm hurting, but not nearly as bad as they are I'm sure," he told The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/LLj9gq ).
Holgreen was hauling a mattress, secured with heavy rope on a trailer behind his vehicle, for friends when the cargo fell off on I-15 near Willard around 10 p.m. He said he was unaware the mattress had fallen off until he arrived home and began looking for it Tuesday morning.
Munns, a married 46-year-old father of four, was killed when he ran into the mattress and went down about 45 minutes later while riding his motorcycle.
Holgreen was unaware of the crash initially but called authorities after hearing news of Munns' death Tuesday. He was cited for failure to secure a load.
Holgreen said he hopes the accident reminds the public of the need to properly secure loads on vehicles.
"It's so serious and it's a life-changer," he told the Tribune. "People have got to be so careful."
Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson said his agency receives multiple calls every day about debris on the highway.
He urged drivers hauling cargo to over-secure loads, with at least one strap for every 10 feet of cargo to avoid such an accident. The public should never try to remove debris from the roads by themselves but should call 911 for UHP assistance, he said.
"It's unfortunate and sad that an individual lost (his) life because a mattress was on the road," Johnson said. "I know the individual that was hauling it tied it down, but we need to take every precaution and make sure we have enough tie-downs on there."