WASHINGTON COUNTY – The driver of a red Sonoma pickup truck was transported to the hospital early Wednesday morning with severe injuries after smashing into the back of an ice truck near Interstate 15 Washington-Hurricane Exit 16.
At approximately 6 a.m., a 43-year-old driver of a Tropic Ice truck, preparing to make the transition from State Route 9 onto southbound I-15, decided to pull to the right shoulder of the on-ramp into the emergency lane to make sure he didn’t leave the gate of his truck up before getting on the freeway, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said.
The driver of the Sonoma truck, a 38-year-old Washington County resident, was on the same ramp going the same way, and, for an undetermined reason, the driver of the Sonoma drifted over to the right. The Sonoma smashed into the back of the ice truck at a high speed, likely getting close to freeway speed at that point, Hicks said.
The impact from the collision was so great, the Sonoma became stuck and crunched into the back of that ice truck, Hicks said, and the driver of the Sonoma was trapped.
“We believe that the driver from the Sonoma was not wearing his seat belt,” Hicks said. “His airbags did deploy, but it was a pretty great impact.”
A Life Flight medicopter was initially called to the scene but was later cancelled after responders were able to free the man from the truck and transport him via ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George with severe injuries.
“I expect him to survive his injuries,” Hicks said, “but (he had) major injuries to his arms and his face, possibly his legs and chest, as well. That’s why we really stress seat belt use.”
The driver of the ice truck, also a Washington County resident, was uninjured. Both men were the only occupants in the vehicles, and no other injuries were reported.
Traffic in that area was impacted for about an hour, while crews recovered the vehicles and cleared the scene.
Hicks said it is still under investigation as to why the driver of the Sonoma drifted off the roadway and hit the ice truck.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by UHP at the scene and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Ed. note: The May 14 date superimposed on UHP photos included in this story is incorrect. The photos depict the May 13 collision.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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