Driver reportedly falls asleep on I-15, rolls car off embankment

Blue Toyota passenger car lands at the bottom of a ravine after the driver lost control and rolled the car on Interstate 15 Sunday, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A passerby called 911 and pulled over to help a driver after a rollover on Interstate 15 sent the vehicle off of an embankment and 20 feet down a ravine Sunday evening.

Blue Toyota passenger car lands more than 20 feet down a ravine after the driver lost control and rolled the car on Interstate 15 Sunday, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just after 5:30 p.m., the driver of a semitractor-trailer dialed 911 after he observed a blue Toyota passenger car veer across both southbound lanes of Interstate 15 before rolling several feet down a into a deep ditch and completely disappearing from sight, Trooper Jesse Williams of the Utah Highway Patrol said.

After calling for help the man made his way to the Toyota to assist the injured driver inside, Williams said. Minutes later emergency personnel responded and firefighters removed the injured driver from the tangled wreckage.

“The truck driver was still down near the car and talking to her when we arrived,” Williams said, “and she was conscious and responsive when emergency personnel arrived.”

The woman was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by ambulance in stable condition, he said.

The man told officers he was also heading south on the interstate, and nearing Exit 13, he observed the Toyota veer off toward the left-hand shoulder and then jerk back toward the right, which sent the vehicle into a skid that continued until it went off the road and disappeared down the embankment.

Skid marks can be seen across both southbound lanes of Interstate 15 following an incident that left one vehicle down an embankment Sunday, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The woman told responders that she fell asleep while in the left lane, Williams said. The driver awoke to the sound of her tires hitting dirt just as the vehicle began to skid along the left shoulder. The driver reacted by turning the wheel to the right in an attempt to return to the roadway, but instead she overcorrected and lost control of the vehicle as it continued to skid across the interstate.

Skid marks across both southbound travel lanes were visible after the crash, Williams said.

Once officers are able to check on the driver they will know more, he said, but at this time the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, and the cause has yet to be determined.

Williams also said that things could have ended very differently had the man driving the semi not stopped and called for help, particularly with a crash of this type, considering the fact that once the car went off of the embankment it could no longer be seen from the roadway.

“The truck driver saw the whole thing and called 911,” Williams said. “Then he rendered aid, and we are sure appreciative of that.”

Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Police, Washington City Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended to the scene.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency 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, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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