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AM News Brief: Davis County Jail Death, Flooding Across The State & Zion Drivers Quit Over Mask Harassment

A parking lot is lined with several of Zion National Park's iconic natural-gas-powered busses. The canyon walls rise up in the background.
David Fuchs
Five shuttle bus drivers at Zion National Park have quit because of verbal abuse from visitors angry about mask requirements, according to the park’s superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, Aug. 2, 2021


Flooding Impacts Across The State

Heavy rain and flash flooding impacted many parts of Utah on Sunday. Multiple landslides forced the closure of Big Cottonwood Canyon last night. Unified Fire said they worked to flush trapped cars up and over Guardsman Pass. No injuries were reported, but the crew helped change several tires damaged by debris. Multiple areas on I-15 were flooded too. Sunday, the National Weather Service warned of life threatening flash flooding in Cedar City and Enoch, and the American Red Cross of Utah is urging residents impacted by flooding in the area to call 1-800-RED-CROSS. There was flooding across Salt Lake City as well, including the gym at East High School where crews on scene pumped water out Monday morning. — Pamela McCall

Debating Laws Around Police Shootings

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill recently ruled another fatal shooting by police justified. He said to achieve a different outcome, state law needs to change or people need to elect legislators who more closely reflect their values. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has been an outspoken advocate for police. Ray said the use of force laws are fine the way they are and that “people have to learn to obey law enforcement.” He said Gill’s comments make him not want to give the Salt Lake district attorney more authority to prosecute officers. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Northern Utah

Davis County Jail Death

Another inmate has died at the Davis County Jail. Officials said a 58-year-old man there was pronounced dead Saturday morning after being found unresponsive during security rounds. The man was booked into the jail on July 18. The sheriff's office said officials haven't determined a cause of death yet, but it appears to be a medical issue. Since 2020, at least five inmates at the jail have died — including three by suicide. — Associated Press

Former Ute Gymnast Wins Silver Medal

Former University of Utah gymnast MyKayla Skinner won a silver medal in the vault at the Olympics this weekend. Skinner stepped in for Simone Biles who withdrew from the competition citing medical issues, though Biles announced she will compete once again. Skinner traveled to Tokyo representing Team USA in an individual spot. She didn’t find out she was competing in Biles’ place until Saturday night. During her time at the University of Utah, Skinner won two national titles, and she was an alternate during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Shuttle Bus Drivers Quit Over Mask Harassment

Five shuttle bus drivers at Zion National Park have quit because of verbal abuse from visitors angry about mask requirements, according to the park’s superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. He told the Springdale town council it seems unnecessary for verbal abuse to escalate over the requirement. The St. George Spectrum reports that mask mandates have been lifted in most parts of Utah, but face coverings are still required on the buses because they are federally operated. Shuttle buses are the only vehicles allowed on the road through the main canyon during the busy season. Zion is the third-most visited national park in the U.S. — Lexi Peery


Federal Infrastructure Plan And Firefighting

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Western governors Friday about the wildfires raging across the region. Biden said his infrastructure plan before the Senate provides billions of dollars in needed relief for firefighting efforts. State leaders, meanwhile, said they want to see a cultural shift among federal agencies in terms of faster response times and year-round mitigation. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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