Rubbernecking results in chain of crashes on interstate, trooper says

This June 2017 St. George News file photo, included for illustration, shows a Utah Highway Patrol Vehicle on Interstate 15 in Washington County, Utah, June 11, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Returning home after work Tuesday evening via northbound Interstate 15 didn’t go so well for many motorists as one collision led to another and brought traffic to a crawl for nearly an hour.

So just what happened? Between four and five crashes, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Lewis said.

Due to the number of incidents, UHP ended up asking Washington City Police to handle the first crash so the troopers were free to deal with those that followed.

The initial incident happened after 5:20 p.m. as traffic was already somewhat congested, Washington City Police spokesman Ed Kantor said.

A red pickup truck on northbound I-15 was nearing Exit 13 when traffic ahead of it began to slow. The driver of the truck didn’t notice the slowing traffic in time and ran into the back passenger side of a black SUV. The truck then veered into the next lane where it sideswiped a passing semitrailer, Kantor said.

While no injuries resulted from this crash, the red pickup truck had to be towed away.

The driver of the red pickup was subsequently cited for multiple traffic violations, Kantor said.

While those involved in the initial crash were able to pull off the highway, Lewis said, the crashes that followed ended up blocking travel lanes. This resulted in a 2-3 mile backup as UHP troopers worked to assess the crashes and clear them.

The prime cause of each accident was drivers rubbernecking, Lewis said, following too close to the car ahead of them and generally not paying attention.

People didn’t notice the lights, didn’t notice the people stopping fast enough, so they ended up rear-ending the cars in front of them,” he said.

The crashes occurred between mileposts 9 and 12 on northbound I-15, with two of the crashes resulting in an injured parties taken by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George with minor injuries.

Traffic began to move at a steady pace once more around 6 p.m. once the last of the crashes were moved off the roadway.

Responding agencies included the Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Police, Gold Cross Ambulance and the St. George Fire Department.

This report is based on statements from emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

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

 

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