Unsafe lane change on I-15 triggers swerve, ricochet accident

Stock image; photo does not represent the accident in the attached report | Image by St. George News

WASHINGTON–  Three vehicles were party to an accident that occurred on northbound Interstate 15 just north of mile marker 13 in Washington at 2:15 p.m. today. This was one of two accidents that occurred at the same time on I-15 today, unrelated.

Just north of the Washington Parkway overpass, where there are three lanes of northbound travel, a Chevy TrailBlazer was traveling behind a semitrailer in the outside slow lane when the driver of the TrailBlazer made a move to go around the semi, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Ferguson said. The driver, not knowing there was a little red Mazda in the center lane, started to make his lane change, then spotted the little red Mazda and jerked back behind the semi.

But, Ferguson said, the TrailBlazer’s move “scared the 21-year-old” driver of the Mazda, who reacted and swerved to the left to avoid a collision. In doing so, Ferguson said he lost control of the Mazda and went off the road on the left side, over-steered and came back across the Interstate, crossing first the fast lane, then the middle lane and on into the tires of the semi yet traveling the slow lane. When the Mazda hit the tires of the semi, it knocked him back across the road like a ricochet into the center divider.

The driver of the TrailBlazer is originally from Wyoming but is currently a Washington city resident, Ferguson said.

“He stayed on scene, he knew what he did caused this, he assisted the officer,” Ferguson said of the driver of the Trail Blazer. “He did get a citation for unsafe lane change but the officer thanked him for sticking around, taking responsibility and dealing with it.”

The semitrailer carried a driver and co-driver, out of California.

“As far as I know, they were able to continue on,” Ferguson said of the semi after the scene was cleared.

The 21-year-old driver of the little red Mazda is from Hurricane and he was transported by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center, Ferguson said. He suffered head, neck and back injuries, the extent of which are being assessed, he said, but they did not appear to be life threatening.

The little red Mazda was totaled and towed.

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

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  • Jake October 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    As an FYI there is no such thing as the “fast lane” or “slow lane” simply the general purpose lane(s) and the left most of such is considered the passing lane. I see lots of articles for accidents from this past week, and perhaps it is that kind of “fast lane” driving/attitude of me first and get out of my way that is causing so many of these accidents.

  • Tom October 19, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Jake it is Utah law that states that anyone driving in the left lane must yield to the drivers behind him and not slow down the traveling speed of another vehicle. Doing so is a violation of the law. Slower drivers are to keep right. To me that would sound that the left lane is the fast lane and the right lane is the slow lane. Especially when sitting in the left lane is illegal and can result in a ticket at the officer’s discretion. Sadly, in Southern Utah officers do not enforce this law as much as in Northern Utah. If Southern Utah enforced it people would stay out of the left lane doing 70 in a 75.

  • San October 19, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Prayers for the Mazda driver and kudos to the Trailblazer driver for sticking around…that took integrity.

  • rod rasmussen October 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Amen Tom. Actually, I think the fact that slower traffic stays right, & that center lane is faster , & left lane is fastest is not known by many Utah drivers (people from out of state joke about this). People going slow in a fast lane either hold up traffic or cause others to pass them on their right, which can be very dangerous.

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