3 escape serious injury after semitractor-trailer allegedly drifts out of lane

Mohave County — A driver and her passengers escaped serious injury after crashing into a concrete median when a semitractor-trailer reportedly drifted into their lane in the Virgin River Gorge Friday afternoon.

A semitractor-trailer shows some damage following a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Mohave County, Arizona, April 7, 2017 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

At approximately 3:38 p.m., troopers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety were dispatched to the scene of the crash on Southbound Interstate 15 just before the Cedar Pockets rest area exit.

See video top of this report.

The driver of a silver Honda Acura was on a curve in the road with the semi in the next lane.

“The three occupants in the silver Acura said that as they were driving, the 18-wheeler started to either drift or merge into their lane, and he kept coming over and they kept trying to move away until they impacted the concrete median wall and crashed,” Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John T. Bottoms said.

Emergency and medical personnel from Beaver/Littlefield Fire District responded quickly and cleared those involved of any serious injury.

“All three occupants in the Acura were examined,” Bottoms said. “They refused any further medical treatments and are deciding to return to St. George, get a rental car and finish their trip.”

Emergency personnel from Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District respond to a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Mohave County, Arizona, April 7, 2017 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

The three women in the Acura were on their way to Las Vegas from Logan when the crash occurred.

“None of them have any real injuries. They’re all going to be sore from being bounced around in the median wall a couple of times,” Bottoms said, noting that they were all wearing seat belts.

The incident was still under investigation at the time this report was taken.

“The driver of the 18-wheeler is denying that he went in their lane,” Bottoms said.

Authorities will check with 911 callers to see if anyone else witnessed exactly what happened.

The driver of the semi will likely receive a citation for driving at an unreasonable speed, Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Tom Callister said.

A Honda Acura is badly damaged following a crash in the Virgin River Gorge, Mohave County, Arizona, April 7, 2017 | Photo by Austin Peck, St. George News

Traffic was slowed temporarily as first responders moved the wreckage off of the road onto an adjacent gravel shoulder.

“We were very fortunate that the Beaver Dam Fire Department was able to hook a tow strap up to the front of the Acura and drag it all the way down the hill to open up the entire highway,” Bottoms said, “otherwise we would have traffic backed up for miles.”

The Acura sustained heavy damage and was towed away. The semi appeared to have sustained some damage to its front end.

Bottoms said this incident is an example of why drivers need to slow down in the curvy, often treacherous roadway of the gorge.

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: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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