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The Utah Highway Patrol is crediting seatbelt use for limiting what could have been a deadly head-on crash late Thursday night on Interstate 80 to one where all the victims are expected to recover from their injuries.

UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said an eastbound car inexplicably crossed the median and collided with a westbound car in Parleys Canyon at 10:50 p.m. In all, three people sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Initially, medical helicopters were dispatched to the accident scene, but paramedics found that the victims, remarkably, to be better off than indicated by the wreckage — from which the three had to be extricated by emergency workers, Royce said.

The injured, whose genders and identities were not released, were taken to University Hospital in Salt Lake City by ground ambulance. Two were in serious condition, a third in fair condition on Friday.

Troopers hoped that hospital interviews would shed light on why the first vehicle veered across I-80. However, they said there was no doubt that seat belts, in conjunction with air bag deployment, saved lived Thursday night.

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