WASHINGTON CITY – Shortly after 2 p.m. today, Washington City Police and medical units responded to an all-terrain vehicle accident in an area near Exit 13 of Interstate-15 in Washington City.
The side-by-side ATV had gone over a ravine and emergency responders were called in. The 41-year-old male driver suffered minor injuries and was Life Flighted to Intermountain Healthcare Southwest Region at Dixie Regional Medical Center, where he was subsequently arrested on Class B misdemeanor drunk driving charges.
The area where the accident occurred is a popular spot for both off-road, street-legal vehicles, as well as ATVs and there were other such in the area at the time of the accident. The region includes areas with steep drop-offs, and soft ground that can shift under weight; and drivers who are unfamiliar with the area can fall victim to these dangers. Furthermore, driving under the influence of alcohol can greatly exacerbate these dangers and accidents follow.
Many people are under the misconception that if they are driving on something other than pavement then they are exempt from drunk driving laws, but this is not the case.
“Even off-road, if there is evidence of drunk driving, a person can be arrested for impaired driving,” Ed Kantor, public information officer for the Washington City Police Department, said. “And basically that is what took place.”
The Washington City Police Department has vehicles in their fleet with four-wheel drive which are able to respond to these types of accidents, as in this case; but remote locations do inherently carry increased risks to those enjoying recreation activities in this region, particularly when they run into trouble. People are urged to enjoy recreation activities responsibly, sober and attentive to surroundings, be prepared, keep company with others.
Note: Persons arrested and charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.