UPDATE: 3 accidents in 20 minutes; I-15 temporarily shut down; STGnews Videocast

ST. GEORGE–  Interstate 15 northbound near Leeds was shut down temporarily at mile marker 16, after three separate auto accidents occurred within 20 minutes and 3 miles of each other.

Reports from the scene indicated heavy amounts of hail and rain on the freeway beginning at mile marker 16.

Accidents 1 and 2

The first accident was reported at mile marker 18 at about 2:10 p.m. This accident involved a blue Chrysler traveling south that struck the barrier outside the right-hand lane, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Danny Ferguson said.

The second accident was reported at milepost 17 when a man pulled his car off to the side of the road after he decided the conditions were too severe to drive in. After he did this, Ferguson said, another vehicle slid out of its lane and struck the back of his vehicle.

No one was believed to have been harmed during these two incidents.

Accident 3 

While on the scene of the first two accidents, Ferguson said, they were called to another one northbound just after milepost 16. This accident involved a woman driving a white Honda Accord and a Leeds man driving an orange Suzuki SUV.

“We’re not sure if the two made contact,” Ferguson said. “We do know that the Honda hit the slush on the hill and started to spin out of control.”

The driver of the Suzuki left the road and went down the embankment on the left-hand side, Ferguson said, where it rolled multiple times. The driver was eventually ejected out the passenger side window. The man is believed to have not been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision.

“Had he had a seatbelt on,” Ferguson said, “there would have been a much different outcome on his part.”

Originally, Life Flight was called out to the scene, Ferguson said, but was then canceled after responders concluded a ground transport would be quicker. Hurricane Fire and Rescue transported the man to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George where he is believed to be in critical condition.

The woman driving the Honda is not believed to have suffered any injuries, Ferguson said, and remained on scene during the investigation.

Along with UHP and Hurricane Fire and Rescue, members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene. Officials temporarily shut down both lanes of northbound traffic while they assessed the scene. After approximately 35 minutes, one lane was reopened to allow traffic to flow through. Both cars were removed from the scene by a tow truck and traffic resumed to normal by 4:05 p.m.

In hazardous driving conditions such as these, Ferguson said, people are advised to slow down and be smart while on the road.

“When there is a half-inch of hail on the freeway, you do not drive 75 mph,” Ferguson said. “You have to adjust your speed. I’m driving an emergency vehicle and I’m doing 50 mph and thought I was (driving) to fast trying to get here.”

St. George News Senior reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.

Ed. note: Correction: The woman driving the Honda is not believed to have “suffered” (replacing “withstood”) any injuries.

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  • ladybugavenger March 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Yesterday, I was on I 15 south almost to Glendale and in all that open road, there was one tumbleweed rolling down the middle and coming at us, we couldn’t move over, a car in the other lane, and tried to slow down but their was no avoiding it BAM! It hit the drivers side mirror and shattered it. This thing was huge and heavy. I looked in the rear view mirror the tumbleweed had split in two and the car behind us swerved. The moral of the story, watch out for killer tumbleweeds. And #funderaiserfortumbleweeddamage…..And .should of took a cab, it would have been cheaper

    • sagemoon March 4, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Wow, we learn so much from each other here. Cab it is. I’m in for a fundraiser.

  • indy-vfr March 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    “Slow down and be smart”………yeah, that’s going to happen!

    • ladybugavenger March 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Ya, can’t do both….duh, this utah where the competency level is considerably low.

  • Bender March 3, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    “The woman driving the Honda is not believed to have withstood any injuries, ”
    So she’s dead? RIP Honda lady.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic March 4, 2015 at 7:08 am

      I see what you mean, Bender. I will change withstood to suffered. 🙂

  • fun bag March 4, 2015 at 12:33 am

    drive like you’re the only one on the road and go at least 90mph. How we do it

  • really March 4, 2015 at 2:49 am

    first of all, the suzuki is red, not orange.
    second, people are not just news stories and cautionary tales; they have friends and family that have to see their loved ones being discussed and picked apart.
    third, ‘the man’ ejected from the car is dead. he is deserving of a little more respect.
    fourth, this ‘reporter’ is an insensitive ass.

    • sagemoon March 4, 2015 at 8:18 am

      If he was a friend/family of yours, I am sorry for your loss.

    • Mike March 4, 2015 at 9:08 am

      “Picked apart”? Really, REALLY? First, it is not a reporter’s job to shield the family from the truth of the accident. Second, the only critical remark one can possibly construe from this article was a quote about wearing a seat belt made by the Highway Partol Officer, and was the truth. Third, if this man did die, it clearly wasn’t apparent when this article was published. If you knew the man from Leeds, I’m sorry for your loss. If you know his family then you know that they have more things of concern right now than reading an online newspaper. The reporter was in no way insensitive. You are far too over sensitive.

    • fun bag March 4, 2015 at 11:16 am

      “really” is completely out of line here

    • My Evil Twin March 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Sounds to me like a case of Darwinism at it’s finest. Don’t have enough brains to buckle up? Oh well, less pollution in the gene pool.
      You wanted insensitive, you’ve got it baby.

      • Evil Twins Mommy March 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm

        Well there you go acting like an ass again. You’re real brave hiding behind your keyboard and not having to show your real name aren’t you..

  • GROANINGCABMAN March 4, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Be nice people. Someone did not survive the accident. my sympathy to the family

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