SR-18 head-on collision sends one to hospital

Aftermath of a head-on collision on state Route 18 near The Ledges community, St. George Utah, May, 27, 2014 | Photo by Terry Poulton, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A head-on collision between two trucks on state Route 18 sent one man to the hospital this morning.

At around 9 a.m., police responded to a two-vehicle accident involving a Nissan Frontier and a full-size GMC pickup on SR-18 near the north end of The Ledges development. The Frontier, traveling south, crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with the GMC, which was traveling north, St. George Police Department Sgt. Sam Despain said.

The collision caused the GMC to roll and land on its top. The Frontier did not roll, but both trucks were totaled.

The man driving the Frontier was transported by Gold Cross Ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical center with severe injuries. The man driving the GMC was uninjured. No other passengers were in either vehicle.

The St. George Police Department has been unable to confirm why the truck crossed over into oncoming traffic because they have not been able to speak with the driver yet, due to the nature of his injuries, Despain said. However, he said, the St. George Police Department will continue investigating the cause of the accident.

SR-18 was closed for a time, as responders had to clear the road and remove the GMC truck.

Besides the St. George Police Department, the St. George Fire Department, as well as Gold Cross Ambulance, assisted with the accident.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by the authorities and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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  • Bill Jordan May 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    There is a little knoll in the road that makes it hard to see oncoming traffic from the south right there at the entrance to Winchester Hills. I almost pulled out in front of a car just yesterday because it’s hard to see.

  • Brian May 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    It took about 30 minutes to extricate the man from the truck, using the jaws of life, as his left leg was pinned. He was taken by LifeFlight, not ambulance. The man in the other vehicle (a full-size SUV) did have one passenger, a woman. Their SUV was upside down, but they were able to walk away (though shaken and pretty upset). Though it happened at the north entrance of Winchester Hills, it was unrelated to the intersection. A witness in a following car said the truck swerved into the path of the SUV, with no time to avoid it (suggesting either a medical condition or dropping / spilling something and jerking the wheel while picking it up). I hope the driver of the truck recovers and there are no unseen injuries for those in the SUV. I really wish they would widen Highway 18 to four lanes with a safety buffer / turn lane in between, all the way up like it is further south. It’s much, much safer where they’ve widened it.

    • rick May 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Sadly UDOT has decided to waste 15 million on the fly-by at Bluff/18 and Red Hills/Snow Canyon! The traffic on Red Hills is 3 times the amount on 18 at that point. Your suggestions would save some lives indeed!

  • Wickeman May 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    So glad to hear the occupants of the second vehicle walked away, and hoping for a speedy recovery for the other driver. After seeing those two vehicles this morning, I’m surprised no one was killed. That little rise just south of the entrance to Winchester is pretty much impossible to see over unless you have a higher clearance vehicle, although it doesn’t sound like that was the issue in this accident. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets rear ended or t-boned pulling out of or turning into that entrance

    • smm May 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      There have been several t-bone accidents at the north entrance to Winchester Hills – but as it’s not in the city [unlike the Hwy 18-Snow Canyon Parkway intersection], it’s not a priority to fix the bad visibility.

  • Mike May 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Really? How long has that intersection been there? I have driven that road for 20+ years and I’ve NEVER had an issue. This is in cars ranging from a 77 t-bird to a Daihatsu Charade. I drive higher profile vehicles now but I never had a problem in the past. This was either a medical issue, attention taken from the road or possibly an intentional act. Quit diverting blame to inanimate objects, it ultimately comes down to driver responsibility. Even the most dangerous intersections are navigable if the driver is diligent, patient and aware.

    • Brian May 28, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Your perfect driving record is completely irrelevant. How many people smoked for a lifetime and never had cancer? That doesn’t mean smoking is safe or smart. The people that got hit in this accident weren’t at fault, and didn’t have time to avoid the accident. They could have been seriously injured due to the actions of someone else. Newsflash: not everyone is perfect, and people do stupid and careless things. If you haven’t figured that out in today’s society, you’ve been living under a rock. So if there is a reasonably cost-effective way to make intersections idiot-proof, rather than idiot-prone, it should be done. The Bluff Street / Snow Canyon Parkway intersection is a good example. As odd as the design seems at first, it will be very effective and much safer when it’s done. But good luck on your perfect driving record. Just realize maintaining it isn’t 100% in your control.

  • rick May 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

    The intersection at 18/snow canyon won’t be any safer at all!

    • Brian May 29, 2014 at 7:17 am

      I have four friends that have been in major accidents at that intersection, all while traveling north or south and someone turned right in front of them. The new intersection would have prevented them all (including one where a friend was seriously injured). The new intersection won’t prevent semi drivers from taking corners too fast (two other accidents at that intersection that I know of), but I can’t think of how they could have designed the new intersection better. It’s an odd design, and a lot of work and money, but as someone with family members going through that intersection daily I’m glad they’re doing what they’re doing.

  • Enlightened Citizen May 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    The man that caused this wreck has had multiple moving violations and arrests in the past months. One wreck was with his children in the car, unbuckled, and without insurance or a licence. This wreck would have been completely avoided if the St. George police arrested this man for that accident a couple months ago.
    (It was the wreck where someone rear-ended another vehicle causing it to hit the front of a house.)

  • Jay Kenney May 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I have a wise friend/mentor/professor, who once told us there are no, “accidents.” all it takes is momentary distraction. Tuning the radio, lighting a cigarette, retrieving something that was dropped as happened to me. Fortunately I had my foot on the brake, but my car still crept forward. Barely bumped the Caravan in front of me. She claimed $1500 damage and the front of my Mazda 3.2 still looked like it came out of the show-room. Guess who was faulted.

    But I digress. From the posts I’ve read about this intersections, it is quite clear to me that this is a dangerous intersections. I am acutely aware of dangerous intersections, having driven near a 1000 miles for the State of Illinois. After my near misses, I was forced to be cautious around them. I have no truck with this driver’s previous record, IF YOU “REPORTS,” ARE ACCURATE. Be that as it may, a dangerous intersection is a dangerous a intersection, it is the responsibility of the STATE to make it safer…FOR ALL!

    Why is an ole Illinois barnacle brain, retired State employee posting about this. I have had the pleasure of doing eBay business with his aunt who lives in Alaska. She wrote me about this tragedy. Also, I DO NOT suffer blamers or bullies lightly. In the real world or cyber-world. So many, “good,” people are the first to cast stones and pass judgement. It could have been your family member or friend. It is our responsibility as good people to pray for all those involved or effected by this tragedy.


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