Police: Crash might have been avoided if driver had hit gas instead of brakes

Blue Ford Focus is towed after two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A driver who failed to yield on a left turn brought traffic to a halt as emergency personnel responded to a busy intersection and chaotic scene during midday traffic Friday.

Officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and East Riverside Drive involving a blue Ford Focus and a copper-colored Chevrolet Malibu, St. George Police officer Andy Mickelson said.

Chevrolet Malibu is damaged after two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Officers found both vehicles in the middle of the intersection severely damaged and blocking at least one lane in both directions on River Road, as well as the westbound lane of Riverside Drive.

All occupants were outside of the vehicles reporting no injuries. They all had been properly restrained at the time of the crash and airbags deployed in the two vehicles.

As fire crews began clearing debris and removing vehicle fluids from the roadway, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker began directing traffic around the crash, as the backup southbound on River Road extended nearly to Foremaster Drive.

Officers learned that the Malibu was heading west on Riverside Drive and the driver entered the intersection to make a left turn onto River Road heading south.

Blue Ford Focus is towed after two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Meanwhile, the Ford was heading east on Riverside Drive in the outside lane of travel and struck the Chevrolet turning left as it crossed directly in front of it, spinning both vehicles around in the intersection.

The Malibu driver told officers she didn’t see the Ford until she had nearly completed the turn and slammed on the brakes instead of hitting the gas, which caused a delay in the time it would have taken for the Malibu to complete the turn and clear the outside lane.

Mickelson added that “the delay assisted in causing the crash and it’s hard to say whether hitting the gas would have avoided the crash altogether, but hitting the brakes instead contributed to the way the crash occurred.”

Both vehicles were towed from the intersection.

Traffic is backed up nearly beyond Foremaster Drive after two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The Malibu driver was later cited for failing to yield on a left turn.

There have been multiple crashes over the last week that were caused by a driver failing to yield on a left turn, and “failing to yield is the number one cause of crashes here in St. George, and has been for years,” Mickelson said.

On Wednesday the issue was addressed by St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley, after officers and responders were dispatched to four crashes by 11 a.m. that were triggered by a driver who failed to yield.

Read more: Woman cited for failure to yield in head-on crash

“People just need to be sure to be checking all lanes of traffic coming towards you before you turn so that you have enough time to complete the turn and clear the lane,” Mickelson said.

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

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • stevepaint March 3, 2018 at 7:48 am

    There is absolutely no law enforcement on these left turners. The left arrow turns red and
    two or three cars continue through the intersection. Cody, maybe you can ask the police
    why.

  • comments March 3, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Well, this is STG, so really, who even needs a brake pedal. Drive like hell, let God sort them out 😉

    • Striker4 March 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      and the prophet has spoken !

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