Joyride in Virgin River doesn’t end well

ST. GEORGE – One man’s attempt to cheer up his foster daughter didn’t quite go as planned Tuesday afternoon when a joyride across the Virgin River resulted in his truck dropping into a large hole hidden beneath the water’s surface.

A joyride into the Virgin River ended abruptly when the truck dropped into a large hole and got struck, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Elise Marie Tuttle, St. George News
A joyride into the Virgin River ended abruptly when a truck dropped into a large hole and got stuck, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Elise Marie Tuttle, St. George News

St. George resident Stephen Larkowski had just gotten off work and picked his 14-year-old foster daughter up soon afterward. The teen had been having a few rough days, he said, and going four-wheeling tends to cheer her up.

Since she didn’t seem so enthused by the idea of accompanying him as he gave his truck a dirt bath, Larkowski said, he tried another route and asked if she wanted to give the truck a bath in the Virgin River … and she agreed.

Larkowski entered the river near the area of the Mall Drive Bridge around 4:30 p.m. and started to drive through the water. Not long after, his truck dropped into a deep hole. The truck has an 8-inch lift, he said, and the hole had dropped the truck to the point the water reached midway up the driver’s side door.

“So I just started going down the river and found a hole – the one and only hole in the river,” Larkowski said while laughing about the incident. He and the teen were able to get out of the truck unharmed.

Some people who saw the partially-swamped truck stopped by and offered to help. One couple with a work truck went into the river to help pull Larkowski’s truck out in conjunction with a heavy-duty tow truck set on the eastern shore of the river.

This dog looks out the from inside a truck that entered the Virgin River to help another truck stuck in the river, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
This dog looks out from inside a truck that entered the Virgin River to help pull out another truck stuck in the mud, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

From within the cab of the white truck, a cocker spaniel peered out the window with a plaintive look. It was as if the dog was asking what madness its owners had given into, putting them all in the middle of the river.

While the truck was able to get out of the hole proper at some point, it was still  remained stuck in the riverbed as continued attempts to pull it out completely failed.

Finally, around 7:50 p.m., Larkowski’s truck was pulled loose. The truck screeched as it rose out of the hole and made it back on shore. However, Larkowski then had to go back into the river to help pull out the white truck that had gotten stuck trying to liberate his vehicle.

A joyride into the Virgin River ended abruptly when the truck dropped into a large hole and got struck. The truck was pulled out after being stuck in the river for over three hours. At least the rims came out clean, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo by Pmori Kessler, St. George News
A joyride into the Virgin River ended abruptly when a truck dropped into a large hole and got stuck in the mud. The truck was pulled out after being in the river for over three hours, but at least the rims came out clean, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Once back on land, the many dozen spectators that had gathered along the shore and on the Mall Drive Bridge to watch the chaos unfold began to disperse. Others who arrived late lamented they had missed the show.

The number of vehicles needing extra help to get out of the area did not end with the two trucks in the river, however. The heavy-duty tow truck’s back end had sunk into the sand by the river’s edge as well. it was able to regain traction after being pulled out by the white work truck that had been in the river.

No injuries were reported in connection with the incident. As for Larkowski’s truck, based on the sound of a high-pitched screech the truck was making when he drove it, he thought he may have broken an axle.

One bright spot to this father-daughter adventure: The truck’s rims sure came out clean and shiny.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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4 Comments

  • old school May 19, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Is that legal? Sounds kind of abusive to me

  • ladybugavenger May 19, 2016 at 11:24 am

    HaHa! Comedy hour at the Virgin River. I hope the girl is cheered up! And you all get a good laugh from this event for years to come

  • .... May 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I hope you all had a good time and glad no one was hurt..you all have something to laugh at over dinner. ..old school needs to get a life

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