Violent rollover near Littlefield, Arizona, kills driver, critically injures passenger

Honda rolls multiple times on Interstate 15 northbound in early morning crash, Mohave County, Arizona, July 26, 2017 | Submitted photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A trip to Bryce Canyon Thursday ended tragically when an early morning rollover near Littlefield, Arizona, killed the driver and critically injured the front-seat passenger.

A few minutes before 5 a.m. MST, officers and emergency medical personnel responded to a single-vehicle rollover on Interstate 15 northbound near mile marker 7, just south of Littlefield involving a blue Honda passenger car carrying three occupants.

Honda rolls multiple times on Interstate 15 northbound in early morning crash, Mohave County, Arizona, July 26, 2017 | Submitted photo, St. George News

Mercy Air was launched after initial reports indicated there were two possible ejections and one occupant possibly pinned under the vehicle.

Responders found that two of the occupants, the driver and his front-seat passenger, were both ejected during the crash. A 15-year-old girl riding in the back remained inside of the vehicle during the rollover, said Trooper Tom Callister, with the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Division.

The driver, who appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene, while the front-seat passenger was found unconscious and unresponsive. The 15-year-old passenger sustained minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Mesa View Hospital in Mesquite, Nevada.

“The gentleman who passed away was obviously deceased before we got there,” Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire Chief Jeff Hunt said, adding that the rollover was particularly violent as the “vehicle rolled many, many, many times.

Paramedics assessed the passenger found lying on the ground alongside the vehicle toward the driver’s side. “Had that car rolled another quarter turn then she would have been pinned under it,” Hunt said. “Once she was thrown from the vehicle it appeared that she remained in the air until after the car crashed to the ground.”

As EMTs prepared the woman for transport, she regained consciousness and was able to speak to responders. She sustained significant injuries and was flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

Honda rolls multiple times on Interstate 15 northbound in early morning crash, Mohave County, Arizona, July 26, 2017 | Submitted photo, St. George News

The investigation revealed that the driver was heading north on I-15 and for “an unknown reason,” Callister said, the vehicle veered to the left and the driver over-corrected, which sent the car veering off the soft right shoulder where it rolled multiple times before landing upright more than 200 feet from the roadway.

As it turned out, the couple was taking their 15-year-old godchild to Bryce Canyon when the crash occurred, after the teen traveled from Bakersfield, California, to meet them in Las Vegas, Nevada, a day or two before.

The three occupants were unrestrained at the time of the crash, Callister said, adding that such a violent rollover would have likely caused severe injuries even if the occupants were wearing their seat belts.

“But loss of life would have been unlikely, but at least the back-seat occupant stayed in the vehicle. Sometimes people just don’t get ejected, but they were all flying around that car because this was a very, very severe rollover, and luckily she made it out with minimal injury.”

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

 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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2 Comments

  • Mike P July 27, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Don’t ya just hate it when you’re driving down the freeway, minding your own business and your car just rolls over multiple times?

  • Mild Winters July 28, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    The loved ones of the person who died will never know if wearing a seatbelt would have saved this person’s life or not. To the two persons who survived, knowing what you know now, if you had the choice again, would you wear your seatbelts?
    Sadly, too many people in this world don’t get another chance to “Live and learn…”

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