Road trip cut short by drowsy driving

Debris from a single-car accident on Interstate 15, Pintura, Utah, Feb. 5, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

PINTURA – Two California vacationers on their way to a Utah cabin were involved in an accident near Pintura Thursday that totaled their vehicle and ended their weekend plans before they got started.

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An SUV is total in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 15, Pintura, Utah, Feb. 5, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

A call about the accident came into dispatch at about 12:15 p.m. from an off-duty officer who was in the area at the time of the crash, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Cooper said. The wreck happened at the northbound Pintura exit on Interstate 15, at milepost 31.

The white 2010 Saturn SUV was pulling a trailer filled with snowmobile gear at the time of the accident, and both the SUV and the trailer were totaled, Cooper said.

There were no other vehicles involved in the accident and neither the driver nor the passenger were injured in the crash.

The accident was the result of fatigued driving, Cooper said. The driver had only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before setting out on the road trip. Cooper said he did not believe alcohol or drugs played any role in the incident.

Single car accident involving a California SUV, Interstate 15, Pintura, Utah, Feb. 5, 2015 | Photo by Carin  Miller, St. George News
Debris from a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 15, Pintura, Utah, Feb. 5, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

The driver of the vehicle swerved to the right at the tip of the Pintura exit, Cooper said, and the SUV’s tires were pulled in by loose gravel on the side of the road where the blacktop was wearing away.

The driver tried to correct the trajectory of the SUV, he said, but the trailer hit the guardrail and was ripped away from the rear of the vehicle, sending the SUV careening into the sidewall along the interstate and demolishing the entire passenger side of the vehicle.

The driver will be cited for improper lane change, Cooper said.

Though the driver declined to comment to St. George News, the passenger of the vehicle said neither of them have family or friends in the area, so they will have to go back to California along with their totaled SUV.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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