Two dead, eight injured after RV veers off I-15 and into townhome complex

A motorhome veered off of southbound I-15 and crashed into the back of the Snow Haven Townhomes, killing two and injuring 8 others, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Updated at 1:10 p.m., May 24, 2013

ST. GEORGE – A recreational vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate-15 Friday morning veered off the highway between the St. George Boulevard and Bluff Street exits, crashing into a garage at Snow Haven Townhomes at 296 East 900 South. Two people, Susan Clark, 53, and Steven Clark, 55, of Provo, were killed in the crash. Eight other occupants of the motor home they were driving received minor injuries.

A motorhome veered off of southbound I-15 and crashed into the back of the Snow Haven Townhomes, killing two and injuring 8 others, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A motorhome veered off of southbound I-15 and crashed into the back of the Snow Haven Townhomes, killing two and injuring 8 others, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Around approximately 5:30 this morning, we got a call about a motorcoach or some sort of RV that came off of I-15 and went through the garage in the complex here,” St. George Police Department Capt. Michael Giles said. “Initial indicators appear that the vehicle was (traveling) southbound. We’re looking into the reasons why, but it did leave the freeway and traveled through the garage of the townhomes here.”

The Utah Highway Patrol has confirmed that Susan Clark was driving the RV, which was also pulling a jeep, when it went off southbound I-15 around milepost 7.

The UHP is the primary agency in the investigation, with SGPD assisting and providing resources.

The investigation is ongoing, though the UHP believes that the RV’s front right tire blew out, causing it to veer off of the highway.

The RV stopped short of hitting a home across the street from the townhomes before going through the garage.

Residents of the condominium units 21, 22 and 23 were evacuated temporarily and gas and utilities were shut off as a precaution. No residents of the condominium complex were harmed, though some were visibly shaken.

The eight other passengers in the motor home and were either sleeping or resting in the living area of the motor home at the time of the crash. The eight passengers, a 22-year-old male, and females aged 3, 5, 13, 15, 18, 23 and 23, received minor injuries and were transported to the Dixie Regional Medical Center.

The incident remains under investigation.

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

A motorhome veered off of southbound I-15 and crashed into the back of the Snow Haven Townhomes, killing two and injuring 8 others, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
A motorhome veered off of southbound I-15 and crashed into the back of the Snow Haven Townhomes, killing two and injuring 8 others, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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  • Concerned citizen May 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I live along the freeway very near to this accident. I think it’s about time for the city to put up sound walls to prevent future tragedies such as this one from happening. I’m fearful of letting my young children play in our backyard because of this same situation.

    • My Evil Twin May 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

      I feel for you. I’ve always thought that it would not exactly be a wonderful thing to live beside and below a freeway. One question though – Did you already own (or live in,) your place before the freeway was put in, or did you buy, (or move in,) after the freeway was already there?

      • Zeke May 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

        A brief short somewhat compassionate statement, followed by an obvious thought, finished by an evil sarcastic question. Just a tornado of thoughts going around in that head today.

        • My Evil Twin May 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          Question was not meant as either evil or sarcastic. It was a serious question, to get people to actually THINK about the consequences of their actions. Such as building in a flood plain, or next to a rail road, airport or freeway.
          But thank you for your concern, Zeke.

    • Ken May 24, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Why should the rest of us taxpayers pay for sound walls? Your choice to live there! Sadly two adults have lost their lives and I hope there are no more deaths this weekend or any other for that matter.

      • Suddenly Susan May 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm

        You’re an arrogant @$$! There have obviously been several of these type of incidents here along the frwy like this. With the city growing denser, by way of apartments, townhomes and condos, especially along the 15 corridor, it’s ridiculous that sound walls haven’t been installed in various sections going thru neighborhoods. The sound of the continuos 24/7 semi traffic alone would drive me INSANE!!!

        • Jh May 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          Whatever – if your tax money is gonna build the freeway, your tax money can build it safe..

    • Dream Photography May 24, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Sadly, I don’t think a sound wall would have prevented this tragedy. Motorhomes weigh tens of thousands of pounds and could probably knock almost any wall down. If I were you, I’d move away from the freeway ASAP, not only because of the danger but the noise and filth. Good luck.

      • UrbanDecay May 24, 2013 at 11:15 pm

        …Is there even an insurance coverage for this???

        • Dan Lester May 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm

          This would be covered under your comprehensive insurance as a homeowner, rental property owner, or tenant.

    • Zeke May 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

      The city would never install sound walls but UDOT might if they were pressured enough.

      • Dick May 24, 2013 at 11:10 pm

        The city doesn’t give a damn about safety, just look at all the left turn arrow lights that never work! They only care about their church, parks, golf courses, trails and splashpads!

    • Some Dude May 24, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Why do you think a 45000 lbs motor home would stop because of a SOUND wall? They don’t stop anything.

      • RuPaul May 24, 2013 at 10:56 pm

        It wouldn’t stop it, idiot, but it would sure slow it down from potentially doing what it did today! If a wall were there, the RV surely wouldn’t have had the momentum to do that damage.

    • Tammy May 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

      I have to agree that it is a tragedy that lives were lost and lives were “damaged” from this incident, but I don’t think that it is the Utah State’s responsibility to put up a sound wall. The residents living in that townhome community knew of the dangers and risks when they bought into that community. I understand the despair but if the people living there are that afraid, then they should move and find a home “in-town” to live in. And this applies to anyone living near a freeway-you chose to live there knowing of the potential dangers. Don’t make the state pay for your fears. Let the state put the money to better uses.

    • optimismalways May 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Wow… Way to make this about you! A family just lost two loved ones and you want to make this about a sound wall that wouldn’t have stopped this anyway? Perspective…. Maybe worthy to note: at some point, you CHOSE to live next to a freeway. You’re fear is/was created by your own doing. And maybe worth taking just a second to think of the HELL the family is going through. Seriously… some people…..

      • Dick May 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm

        So, are you people ranting about people choosing to live next to the freeway, saying that all prime real estate along the hwy not be developed in fear of a car landing in your bed?! Everything in life is a risk..every breath, every step, every commute to can’t live in fear of the ‘what ifs’

  • Robert May 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

    St George news keeps people updated so well and think mori did great on the photo

  • Bree May 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I agree with Robert and St. George News now is all I read. Great job and incredible photos. You don’t see this everyday! Thank you Mori Kessler for the up close and personal coverage.

  • Dan May 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I’m not so sure sound wall would’ve prevented this given the RV pass through two homes, Is there not cable barriers on that stretch of the freeway?

    • Keep Our Freedom May 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      There are cable barriers, but they are in between the lanes of the freeway and not on the outside of the lanes.

    • Jade May 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      True, but a sound wall would have slowed impact greatly. If a wall were there, the RV most likely wouldn’t have reached the homes

  • walt May 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    My first thought was that the driver fell asleep like so many rollovers do.

  • William May 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    It went thru a fence (Right of way) across a field and then thru a wall and a building. No sound wall would have stopped it. Picture of Wall taken out before it hit building. Must have been towing that jeep left in the building.

  • Mark May 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Pretty sure the address in the story is wrong. I think it should read 296 E 900 S

  • spectator in the cheap seats May 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Another good story by a Great news organization… !!! Now for the wall issue. Sound walls do not and will not stop a Class A motorhome , a tractor -trailer , or a pick -up . The walls are NOT designed for that , but to buffer the sound of traffic… The accident is a terrible thing and should not have happened. The freeway was built long before any development was built along I-15 . Somethimes property is developed along the fwy , but no one thinks about events like this one… ever happening… . The same thought applies to building along a river drainage, or below a dike; deversion dam, or a very low spot in the valley ; or on top of unstable ground.( big clay pocket ) or on a unstable hill side….

    • RuPaul May 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Sound walls MAY not stop a large vehicle, but it surely would slow and penetrate impact like what happened today. Not to mention, sound walls would however stop regular sedans from flying off into neighborhoods…

  • Matt May 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I have been thinking about this all day I must have just missed it I feel so bad for the kids and family it really makes me think about life

  • Char May 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    OK, sound walls would not have prevented this. Are we talking about the deaths or the property damage? What are you really concerned about? The RV went through a block wall, then the garage wall then out the front of the garage and across the street. A sound wall would have broken too. And a sound wall would have probably had the same effect on the two unfortunate people. So the person saying he needs a sound wall, fork out the money and put up one yourself IF they let you.

    • RuPaul May 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      Yea…but…the sound walls are know to be thicker than average block walls, so eventho the RV would have broke through the sound wall, it would have significantly slowed the vehicle, preventing as much damage as what happened today. I’m surprised neighborhoods along the 15 haven’t requested such walls be installed – especially as this surely isn’t the first incident of its kind in the city.

  • Pubert May 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    The City/state needs to consider sound walls. Most urban areas where a freeway cuts through residential neighborhoods have these. Too many deaths and injuries have occured here because of this. Like previous comments say, sound walls may not completely stop a large vehicle from breaking through, but they surely would slow these rigs from plowing into neighborhoods where kids play and sleep. I’d be scared living near the freeway after all these runoffs!

    • Pubert May 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      I’m not saying sound walls need to be built along both sides from Washington to SunRiver, they just need to be built where the residential areas are along the freeway.

  • Jade May 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    The problem along with lack of walls, is the curviture of the I-15 through downtown, if it were straight, runoffs would be minimul I’m. But I do agree that walls through residential areas, especially where the curves are, should be installed

    • Dick May 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Ok, bright one, we’ll clear out strips of little suburbia, bulldoze the 2 black hills and parts of Webb Hill and ask the state/federal government to rebuild I-15 to be more straight. Wow, this generation of people expect it all, and some!

  • unknown May 24, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I understand that there are concerns with the safety of the homes below the freeway and it is obviously a concern with residents in the area. I think it would be however wise at this time to be concerned for the family. The two who are dead theres not much we can do for them but we can surely pray for there family. I’m sure they are shook up and in a a lot pain. Think for a moment what if that were my parents grandparents or what if they were my son or daughter. At least at this moment lets be concerned for them and be grateful that no body else lost their lives . Lets be concerned for those that are left behind and do all that we can do to give them comfort.

  • Hunter May 25, 2013 at 12:02 am

    It saddens me that every time something like this happens, people try to turn it into something to push their own agenda. Can’t we all forget for a while about “what the city should do” and spend a moment to think what can be done to help the family who has just lost two loved ones and those whose homes have been affected? Even if it’s nothing more than an outpouring of love and support from the community, every little bit helps. To the families involved in this sad accident, I am incredibly sorry for your loss and may you all recover as well as can be expected, and may you be surrounded by those who love and support you.

  • know this May 25, 2013 at 6:14 am

    most of the people that own these vehicles have no training as to how to drive something of this size .when I became a CDL driver training was very important to be a safe operator of a vehicle as large and heavy as these things are let alone towing something to .My opinion if you own one of these motor HOMES !!! you should have training . they say possible tire failure before I go any where in in a big truck I have a check list I have to do every single time I turn the key.

  • Knine May 25, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Great comment by “Know This” CDL type training would be a great idea. Unfortunately many elderly are driving these big units too. They may not have the reaction time or physical ability to deal with a challenging situation. Braking for the dingy too should be a requirement. “towed vehicle”

  • John Smith May 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Concerned citizen sounds like Obama. Using a tragedy for his own personal agenda. What an a$$. Two people just died. Have a little compassion. No one made you buy there and I’m pretty sure the I15 was there before you were. You don’t like it. Move. Far far away please.

  • Dan Lester May 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I agree that the 40 foot Class A Motorhomes like this one are a potential hazard. Yes, anyone with a regular driver’s license can drive one legally. I never worried about my father driving one for the six years my folks lived in one full time, going to all of the USA and Canada and much of Mexico. Why didn’t I worry? He’d driven truck his whole live (age 16 to 66). He started with a CDL at age 16 (which you could get in 1936). And he’d driven anything that could be driven on a highway.

    But put the average 70 year old (including me, as that’s my age) in something that big they’re clueless about the dangers in many dimensions. Most of that age have never driven anything bigger than a Cadillac or a dually pickup.

  • Bev May 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Sound walls would have let the vehicle scrape along until it came to a stop. The only way it could have gone through it would be a direct head on hit. From my understanding, the vehicle had a tire failure and veered off the freeway. Had there been a concrete block wall, it would have never gone into this neighborhood.

  • Killing Dick Killed this town May 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    That part of the freeway is very fast for trucks and oversize vehicles. K rails would defiantly have change this outcome. I don’t think it is the City’s responsibility. I think the feds run the interstate, and make decisions regarding changes.

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