Rollover on I-15 ejects driver; transported in critical condition

Red GMC Yukon is towed from the median after a rollover on Interstate 15 that resulted in a driver being ejected from the vehicle, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 27, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A woman was ejected from her vehicle during a rollover on Interstate 15 that started when a semitractor-trailer struck another vehicle during heavy holiday traffic Sunday.

The Red GMC yukon after the rollover on Interstate 15 that resulted in an injured driver Sunday evening, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 27, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Red GMC Yukon after a rollover on Interstate 15 that resulted in a driver being ejected from the vehicle, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 27, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just after 4:30 p.m., officers and emergency personnel responded to a report of a rollover on Interstate 15 southbound near Exit 16, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lars Gardner said.

An Intermountain Life Flight helicopter was also dispatched due to a report of a driver who was possibly ejected from the vehicle during the crash.

Upon arrival, officers found a red GMC Yukon in the median of the interstate, heavily damaged with a female seriously injured outside of the SUV, he said.

The woman was ejected from the SUV when it rolled several times before coming to a rest in an upright position hundreds of feet from the roadway, Gardner said.

Multiple officers from three agencies responded to the crash that involved a semi, a Ford Focus and the red GMC Yukon that rolled. EMS from the Hurricane Valley Fire District arrived on scene within minutes and ground transported the woman to Dixie Regional Medical Center in stable but critical condition, the trooper said.

After speaking with the drivers and witnesses at the scene, officers determined that the semi was heading south on Interstate 15 and slowed down while moving to the left to allow traffic from the on-ramp near mile marker 16 to enter in the right lane.

However, the semi driver failed to look for traffic to the left before merging, Gardner said, and struck the Ford that was traveling next to the semi in the left lane.

Red GMC Yukon was towed from the median after a rollover on Interstate 15 resulted in an injuried driver who was transported by ambulance Sunday evening, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 27, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Red GMC Yukon is towed from the median after a rollover on Interstate 15 that resulted in a driver being ejected from the vehicle, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 27, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The impact sent the Ford into the guardrail and onto the left shoulder of the interstate. The driver of the Yukon that was traveling directly behind the Ford slammed on her brakes to avoid crashing into the vehicle that was veering directly into the guardrail in front of her.

Unable to avoid the crash, the driver of the Yukon lost control as her vehicle veered sharply to the left and started to roll, the trooper said. It continued rolling down the embankment until it came to rest in an upright position.

Sometime during the rollover the woman was ejected and sustained serious injuries once she was thrown from the SUV, Gardner said.

“Unfortunately the woman wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident,” he said, “which left her unprotected once she was ejected and outside of that vehicle as it continued to roll.”

The driver of the semi and the two occupants in the Ford were shaken but uninjured.

Southbound traffic came to a standstill initially; however, within a short time the right lane was reopened. The left lane remained closed to allow emergency personnel to tend to the scene.

Northbound traffic was impacted as cars slowed to view the crash, which may have contributed to a secondary crash that occurred several hundred yards away from the primary wreck. A passenger car veered to the right of the interstate before crashing into a concrete retaining wall.

“Traffic was impeded for well over an hour,” Gardner said, “primarily due to the crash but also because of the number of vehicles on the road with the holidays.”

The semi and Ford remained operable and were driven from the scene, while the Yukon was extensively damaged and towed from the roadway.

The driver of the semi was cited for failing to operate in a single lane.

The Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s office, Washington City Police department and Hurricane Valley Fire District responded and tended to the scene. Life Flight was also dispatched to the crash but was called back when the injured driver was ground transported.

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: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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5 Comments

  • .... November 27, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    I’m sorry to see that she was hurt but she should of had her safety belt on. hopefully she will recover and learn about safety belts.

    • Christmas Bob November 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

      typical Dump, come to salt the wounds. good job Dump.

    • Liana November 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      I can not believe you….if you don’t have nothing nice to say shut up…just now we are praying for her and her family we love you so much

  • mmsandie November 28, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Everyone says truck drivers are safer drivers, but here he didn,t in the blind spot,, they think because they are big they can drive anywhere, and the little guy had to move out..

    • Christmas Bob November 28, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Nope, a good share of them are very reckless.

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