STGnews Top 25 news stories of 2013

SOUTHERN UTAH – St. George News is taking a look back at the most popular stories of 2013. From record-setting snowfall to a countywide criminal manhunt, here is the news that captivated our readers.

We thank our STGnews friends for their support and look forward to another amazing year!

Gorge featureBreaking news: I-15 through the Gorge completely closed, evacuation plan

Record snowfall triggered an emergency closure of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge on Dec. 7, trapping hundreds of travelers in their cars overnight.

Rockslide in Rockville; home destroyed, 2 fatalitiesrockville-rockslide-dec2013-604x272

On Dec. 12, a rockslide crashed into a neighborhood in Rockville, demolishing one home and killing its occupants, Jeff Elsey and Maureen Morris.



I can’t believe I survived; flash flood crashes down on Zion canyoneers

In August, a group rappelling down Behunin Canyon in Zion National Park was surprised by a massive flash flood and narrowly escaped with their lives. The entire terrifying ordeal was caught on video.

highway89-break‘Geologic event’ breaks apart Highway 89 near Utah-Arizona border

A portion of Highway 89 on the Arizona Strip was closed in February when 150 feet of pavement crumbled due to a sudden landslide.

southern-parkway-artifactsSouthern Parkway road construction unearths ancient ruins; what archaeologists say

During construction of the Southern Parkway in May, crews unearthed ancient ruins from a settlement of Ancestral Puebloans dating as far back as 400 B.C., along with dinosaur fossils.

headerUHP ends multi-state high-speed chase at Utah border

A high-speed pursuit crossing three states ended just outside St. George on Jan. 30 when Utah authorities arrested former NASCAR star Tyler Walker, found in possession of various drugs.

ED-AG-polygamy-same-sex-differing-weights-604x272On the EDge: What is more dangerous to Utah families, polygamy or same-sex marriage?

Columnist Ed Kociela weighs in on the Dec. 20 federal ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Utah and the state government’s response, suggesting that LGBT rights are “more dangerous” to families than polygamy.

Victim in aggravated assault case dies, police still searching for suspectst-george-police-604x272

In February, St. George resident Jeramy Shawn Olsen died from injuries sustained during an aggravated assault, launching a manhunt for the suspect, Mario Lucero.



AC refrigerant ban impacts suppliers, technicians and consumers

With the summer months approaching, suppliers, technicians and consumers faced a crunch due to restrictions on the air conditioning system refrigerant R-22.

Moab BASE jump disaster nearly costs pro-climber life, limb; full hospital interviewScreen-Shot-2013-10-31-at-7.08.23-AM-596x272

Professional rock climber Ammon McNeely will always remember Oct. 28 as the day he nearly paid the ultimate price on his quest for adventure. During a BASE-jump stunt in Moab, his parachute malfunctioned and he sustained life-threatening injuries.

945212_10201092577067345_49336013_n-604x272Two dead, eight injured after RV veers off I-15 and into Snow Haven townhome complex

The Clark family of Provo were traveling to Disneyland on May 24 when their motorhome’s front tire blew out, triggering a fatal crash.

utah-state-tax-commisionSt. George auto dealer shut down by state agency

In February, the Utah State Tax Commission shut down operations of Executive Auto Group following an investigation into questionable business practices. Owner Richard “Rabbit” Downward was charged with multiple counts of fraud.

st-george-police-604x272Two found dead in St. George home

On July 29, Paul and Mary Ann Day were found dead in their home, the victims of what police later determined was a murder-suicide. Red-Hills-Parkway-585x272

Dixie cities not equipped for snow removal, icy roads impassable; avoid driving

Record snowfall on Dec. 7 triggered a string of traffic accidents, forcing Southern Utah residents to stay off the roads.

fake-pornNational Report satire on St. George creates a stir

In September, St. George citizens were bewildered by an article in the National Report claiming that pornography was now illegal in the city, with first-time offenders receiving 30 days in jail. It was actually a fake story generated by the satirical news and politics publication with the goal of raising ire. banner1-604x272

Car dealer owner makes first appearance in multiple fraud case

Richard “Rabbit” Downward, the owner of Executive Auto Group who was arrested following closure of his business by the state tax commission, pleaded not guilty to multiple fraud charges on March 1.

st-george-police-604x272Series of burglaries hit east side of St. George

A series of burglaries taking place in broad daylight on the city’s east side, near Mall Drive, puzzled police in March; a suspect was later arrested thanks to alert citizens.on-the-EDge-child-rape

On the EDge: Jeffs’ latest edict requires immediate response by law enforcement

Following a July report that imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs ordered his male followers to impregnate all girls age 12 and over, columnist Ed Kociela called for immediate action by Utah law enforcement, whom he opined had “done nothing” to stop the group’s alleged past crimes.

High-Speed-Chase-ends-20130210-ADPS-photo1-604x272Near head-on collision ending high-speed chase may be intentional, suspect named

During a high-speed pursuit through Arizona and Utah, Zane Sterling Skeen nearly killed two people in a deliberate collision on I-15. He was arrested by local authorities on multiple felony charges.Accident-at-3050-East-604x272

Jaywalker gets hit by SUV exiting Petco parking lot

On Feb. 25, woman was struck by a vehicle while unsafely crossing Telegraph Road in Washington City and transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

st-george-police-604x272Suspect in fatal assault arrested in California

In February, Mario Lucero, the prime suspect in the death of St. George resident Jeramy Shawn Olsen was arrested in California and extradited to Washington County to stand trial for murder. stg-olivia-hansen

Community responds to incomprehensible loss, benefit for bereaved family

Following the devastating loss of 13-year-old Olivia Hansen, who took her own life on April 21, the community rallied around her grieving family with a benefit event.

stg-auto-pedNames of victims in pedestrian-auto accident released, police seek witnesses

St. George residents David and Leslee Henson were critically injured an accident caused by a texting driver while walking along Dixie Drive on March 5.stg-boulder

Husband reflects on house-crushing boulder, wife’s close call; future of the rock

In the early morning of Jan. 19, a massive boulder rolled into and destroyed part of a house at the bottom of Foremaster Ridge, giving Wanda Denhalter a rude awakening she barely escaped with her life.

ftcFTC goes after St. George family, businesses for alleged consumer scam that raked in over $25 million

The FTC filed suit against the Sunyich family and Ideal Financial Solutions in February, alleging that they had scammed clients out of over $25 million in an elaborate scheme.

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