MESQUITE, Nev. – Authorities have released details surrounding a fatal collision Sunday near the southbound Interstate 15 Arizona-Nevada state line that left one man dead, one woman in critical condition, a semitrailer engulfed in flames and I-15 traffic backed up for hours.
According to a Nevada Highway Patrol preliminary investigation, a silver 2005 Jaguar, driven by a 75-year-old woman, from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, was traveling north on I-15 in the right travel lane at approximately 2:10 p.m. MST.
At that same time, a 2010 International semitrailer, driven by a 56-year-old man, from Council Bluffs, Iowa, was traveling south on I-15 in the right travel lane.
The driver of the Jaguar steered abruptly to the left, causing the car to rotate counter-clockwise before traveling across the center dirt median and onto southbound I-15, NHP Trooper Loy Hixson said in a press statement Monday afternoon.
When the driver of the semi saw the Jaguar coming in his direction, he steered to the right, Hixson said, but the right side of the Jaguar struck the left front of the semi.
READ MORE, SEE PHOTOS: 1 dead in semi vs car collision on 1-15; STGnews Photo Gallery
The collision redirected the Jaguar in a southerly direction before it came to rest on southbound I-15, both partially in the travel lane and dirt median, Hixson said. The semi came to rest on the right paved shoulder of southbound I-15 where it soon became completely engulfed in flames.
A 78-year-old male passenger of the Jaguar, also from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, suffered fatal injuries during the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Jaguar was transported to Mesa View Hospital in Mesquite in critical condition, while the driver of the semitrailer was reportedly uninjured.
As a result of the collision, Highway Patrol troopers were restricting traffic along I-15, utilizing the emergency lanes for travel in both north- and southbound directions near Nevada milepost 122. Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms described the traffic along I-15 between St. George and Mesquite at the time as “absolute chaos.”
By 4:45 p.m. MST, southbound I-15 traffic through the Virgin River Gorge construction zone was backed up for 7.5 miles, Bottoms said, with traffic being backed up an additional 8 miles between Mesquite, Nevada, and Littlefield, Arizona, in the area of the fatal crash.
The estimated drive time from Mesquite to St. George, Bottoms said, was more than 2 hours.
Just before 7:30 p.m. MST, Bottoms reported motorists were becoming increasingly upset over the traffic delay and some were even running out of fuel as the highway remained restricted in Nevada and backed up 10 miles in Arizona.
NHP opened both southbound lanes and the traffic backups began to clear around 8:30 p.m.
- 1 dead in semi vs car collision on 1-15; STGnews Photo Gallery
- Traffic Advisory: Headed southbound on I-15? Use alternate route; fatal crash
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