In 2002, the Salt Lake Tribune interviewed the mayor of Richfield about the change I-70 brought to the Sevier Valley. Previously these were isolated farming communities, whose residents felt they were unaccustomed to the crime and other effects that a transcontinental highway can bring. Residents of Richfield soon started to call I-70 "Cocaine Lane". The mayor stated that I-70 is a mixed blessing. He stated the highway is a boon to the hospitality industry and has made Richfield more accessible to other cities. However, the new road brought types of crime previously unknown to the city. The mayor lamented that after the completion of I-70, many residents started locking their doors for the first time. The interview resulted from an event that served as a "wake-up call", that rural Utah is "not isolated from crime". Panic ensued after the public witnessed Utah Highway Patrol troopers carrying away a suspect in handcuffs, while removing plastic bags and coolers full of body parts from the trunk of his car. The event caused a frenzy of people checking on their neighbors, fearing the murder victims were local residents. In 2007, there were 11 violent crimes in Sevier County, a county of 19,386 residents.
Green River is the largest, and only incorporated, city directly served by I-70 in eastern Utah. Unlike the communities of the Sevier Valley, Green River was founded as a stopover for travelers along transcontinental arteries. The area was first used as a stopover for travelers navigating the Green River. Later the town was formed to serve travelers along the Old Spanish Trail and stagecoach mail routes. Green River was an established stopover by the time the railroad and later highways were built through the area.
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