Drowsy driver rolls vehicle at port of entry

ST. GEORGE — A tired driver looking for a spot to pull off the interstate and rest instead managed to drive into a cement pole Friday evening, flipping her vehicle and landing upside down.

The woman had been the subject of an attempt to locate along I-15 northbound after she was seen driving recklessly out of the Virgin River Gorge, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Mower said.

An agent at the Utah-Arizona Port of Entry who witnessed the rollover told Mower it appeared the car was only going about 15 mph when it hit the pole.

A car rests upside down after rolling over at the Utah-Arizona port of entry, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
A car rests upside down after rolling over at the Utah-Arizona port of entry, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Utah Highway Patrol was dispatched to the scene at 5:30 p.m.

The woman, who was driving a silver Toyota Corolla, apparently exited the interstate into the port of entry and pulled onto the shoulder lane.

According to a witness, she appeared to change her mind about resting on the shoulder lane and drove into an adjacent cement pole that was in place to protect camera equipment, Mower said.

The vehicle slid up the pole and landed upside down in the middle of the lane. Initial medical responders examined the woman and did not see any sign of impairment.

The driver refused further medical attention, Mower said, and was up and about speaking to emergency responders. She clutched a small white dog that also appeared uninjured.

Law enforcement officials also examined her for possible signs of intoxication. There was no indication that she was impaired and no odor was present to suggest otherwise, Mower said.

“When you’re tired and fatigued or drowsy, sometimes it’s just as dangerous as being under the influence.”

Emergency crews respond after a car rolled over at the Utah-Arizona port of entry, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Emergency crews respond after a car rolled over at the Utah-Arizona port of entry, Oct. 14, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The incident is under investigation.

“We’re investigating all possibilities,” Mower said.

The Toyota sustained heavy damage, including a shattered windshield and crushed passenger side. It was inoperable and had to be towed away.

The port of entry northbound exit was briefly closed as emergency crews cleaned up after the crash.

St. George Police, St. George Fire, Washington County Sheriff, Utah Department of Transportation Incident Management, and Arizona Department of Transportation also responded to the incident.

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

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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4 Comments

  • Don Bagley October 15, 2016 at 12:12 am

    She was bored into unconsciousness while driving in southern Utah. It doesn’t seem likely.

  • DesertBill October 15, 2016 at 8:43 am

    “According to a witness, she appeared to change her mind about resting on the shoulder lane and drove into an adjacent cement pole that was in place to protect camera equipment, Mower said.”

    Kudos to the guy who placed the cement protection pole.

  • DB October 15, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Only 15 mph?

  • .... October 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I sure hope the cement post is OK !

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