The trailer jackknifed, slid around the side of the semi and across the roadway, where it hit an oncoming pickup truck driven by Townsend, UHP reported.
The road conditions were icy and the semi truck and trailer were loaded with crude oil.
UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said weather also played a role in the minor injuries a female driver sustained when her stalled car was rear-ended by another semi on slippery Interstate 15 near Spanish Fork.
Royce said it took about two hours for northbound lanes to be cleared after that 6 a.m. crash in Utah County.
Slick road surfaces also were being considered as contributing to another semi rig's overturning on Interstate 80, just west of the Utah-Wyoming border. Royce said the westbound rig was hauling a tanker full of propane when it toppled on a curve at 9:15 a.m, but the tanker was not compromised and none of the volatile gas leaked.
The driver of that semi escaped serious injury, UHP said.
Troopers were investigating another fatality on U.S. 40 near Myton, but initially believed that death was due to a medical problem. Royce said details were sketchy, but it was not believed the incident involved a crash.
The early morning storm slowed traffic on Interstates 15, 80 and Highway 40 to a crawl as the commute began and fresh snow fell, whipped by winds along mountain ridgetops and in some passes.