Van and trailer run off road; sister missionary injured

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. —A sister missionary riding in a van was injured Tuesday after the van’s driver was forced off the road by another vehicle heading south on Interstate 15 just as it enters the Virgin River Gorge.

A van forced off I-15 in Arizona hangs over the edge of a precipice about 50 feet above the roadway Tuesday. Mohave County, Arizona, Sept. 13, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Tom Callister, St. George News
A van forced off I-15 in Arizona hangs over the edge of a precipice about 50 feet above the roadway Tuesday. Mohave County, Arizona, Sept. 13, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Tom Callister, St. George News

The altercation with a pickup truck Tuesday about 11:30 a.m. MST in Arizona (12:30 p.m. MDT) sent the van and attached trailer about 50 feet up the side of a mountain, coming to rest with the front wheels off the ground and the trailer jackknifed in just the perfect position to keep the van from rolling back down.

The van was driven by a senior missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with his wife as a passenger.

“The initial report we got was that a pickup truck – a blue pickup truck … cut this vehicle off, causing the driver to lose control and exit the roadway and go up this embanked part of the hill,” Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms said.

A pickup truck was stopped to the south of the accident scene, but it was unclear if it was the truck involved.

Another senior missionary who showed up to assist the couple said the pair were on their way to Mesquite to set up a new apartment for new missionaries scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

Arizona Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms stands with a St. George fire volunteer looking at a van that was forced off the road Tuesday afternoon. Mohave County, Arizona, Sept. 13, 2016 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News
Arizona Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms stands with a St. George fire volunteer looking at a van that was forced off the road Tuesday afternoon. Mohave County, Arizona, Sept. 13, 2016 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

“I was three cars behind,” witness Tony Russ of New Mexico said. “I didn’t really see … I just saw them (the van) start to fishtail, he hit the side of the road all out of control, then he hit the hill.”

Another witness, Lyle Anderson of Hurricane, Utah, said he watched as the van’s driver began to lose control.

“I just saw this van pulling a trailer,” Anderson said. “I just all of a sudden saw this van start to fishtail really far into the left lane. I could tell when I saw that (it) was going to go off the road …. They got pretty fortunate as to where they went off the road right here.”

The LDS sister missionary complained of back pain and was taken via ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center in neighboring St. George, Utah. Her husband went with her in the ambulance, but did not complain of any injuries.

The van was southbound entering the Virgin River Gorge at milepost 25 when the incident occurred. Because of the location, mutual aid was called for and the St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross ambulance responded from Utah, as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety and its Highway Patrol troopers.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

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

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18 Comments

  • hiker75 September 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Scary. I thought I somehow got into a church newsletter. A sister missionary…Do you mean a woman? A senior missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Would that be a man? What an idea to include the religion of people involved in accidents. Will you continue to do this?

    • ladybugavenger September 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Interesting isn’t it? LOL! Ewe knough Ur in Utaw when…its all about Mormon special treatment.

    • anybody home September 14, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      LOL, I thought exactly the same thing! Only in Utah do we get the Mormon flavor to every little thing…I doubt it would have been the same if it had been a Presbyterian elder and his wife…”A sister elder…” ???

      • .... September 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm

        Hey anybody home just attacked a group of people based on their religion. OK I see anybody home and Bob are allowed to attack people but no one else is allowed their opinion according to Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry. ..it’s a good thing I didn’t say anything about Deputy Bob or I would of been arrested. ! and sent to the principles office. ..

      • ladybugavenger September 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

        Just make up your own headline. Here’s my headline: A Christian ladybug walks into a bar with coke and cheetos…Oh my word! They actually sell liquor in the bars here! Life’s Good!

  • .... September 14, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Praise the Lord !

  • 42214 September 14, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Could someone at StG news explain the relevance of religion in this article. Was it a religious based hate crime?

    • 42214 September 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Waiting for an explanation from the author or the exultant editor-in-chief. What does religion have to do with this “news story”

      • RealMcCoy September 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        Isn’t it obvious?!

        The relevance is that the magic mormon underwear miraculously prevented either of these two pillars of glory from experiencing harm.

        Were it not for the well-padded book of mormon to insulate them from the evils of reality- I mean the world- they would have burst into a fiery inferno.

        It was SPECIFICALLY their good works in preparing them a home for new missionaries that granted them protection from injury.

        It was their STATUS as ‘senior missionary’ that exempted them from being issued a citation for ‘unsafe lane travel’ or an ‘ending up 50 feet on a cliff’ ticket.

        It is their ENTITLEMENT that allows them to blame ‘a blue pickup truck’ for the accident, and their word is considered irrefutable due to their status. After all, the simplest solution- the driver of the van lost control and wiped out- couldn’t possibly be true, as that would admit he was responsible for damaging church property.

        I hope this clears up the confusion.

    • 42214 September 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      I guess my request was too complicated.

  • hiker75 September 14, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I look forward to the explanation from St George News.

    • 42214 September 14, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Sign in if you think SGNews should explain why this story was written this way and approved by the editor.

    • .... September 14, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      I’m looking forward to the explanation from Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry why he has the right to attack people but no else is allowed to the same thing….it must be that Mayberry Sheriff badge he wears. ..lmao

  • .... September 15, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Hey St George news. …does ( anybody home ) have the right to policy on here ? I’m asking because he got upset when Bob’s comment was challenged and accused us of attacking Bob. and now anybody home just attacked the entire Mormon population. so is anybody home the only one here allowed an opinion ?

  • .... September 15, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I sure hope I don’t get sent to the principles office for questioning the authority of Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry

    • ladybugavenger September 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

      It’s ok Dot, I’m the principal hahahahahaha

      • .... September 15, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        Woooohoooooo do I get to sit on your lap ? ♡♡♡♡♡ !

        • ladybugavenger September 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm

          Nononononooooo! Now you’re expelled!

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