Driver falls asleep, truck smashes into wall

Law enforcement investigates scene of white Chevrolet pickup truck smashed into retaining wall on Dixie Drive overpass to I-15 Wednesday morning, St. George, Utah, May 23, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An early morning crash Wednesday caused by drowsy driving resulted in a pickup truck in the tow yard and a driver with a citation.

Shortly after 7 a.m. officers were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash on the Dixie Drive overpass to Interstate 15 involving a small white Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

Law enforcement investigates scene of white Chevrolet pickup truck smashed into retaining wall on Dixie Drive overpass to I-15 Wednesday morning, St. George, Utah, May 23, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Upon arrival, troopers found the truck smashed into the retaining wall on the north side of the overpass and the uninjured driver, a 19-year-old male, waiting near the truck.

A motorist who witnessed the crash pulled over to check on the driver and was still at the scene when officers arrived, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Lewis said.

The driver told troopers that he was heading north on Dixie Drive toward the I-15 on-ramp at Exit 5 and crashed into the retaining wall just north of the on-ramp.

The driver also told Lewis that he was “very fatigued and must have fallen asleep” before the truck went into the wall.

Scene of white Chevrolet pickup truck smashed into retaining wall on Dixie Drive overpass to I-15 Wednesday morning, St. George, Utah, May 23, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“The driver said he got up early to take a buddy to work,” Lewis said, “and that he’d been getting up early over the last few days so it was basically lack of sleep.”

The driver was given a field sobriety test but ultimately was only cited for improper lane travel. The truck was towed from the roadway.

On average, more than 1,000 crashes each year are attributed to drowsy driving in Utah and kill roughly 19 people annually, according to a 2015 “Sleep Smart Drive Smart” report released by the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The numbers may not  state the true size of the problem, since identifying drowsiness or fatigue as the cause “can be very difficult,” the report said.

The report shows that most drowsy driving crashes occur between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., with the highest number reported at 7 a.m.

This report is based on statements from police 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, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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