Drowsy driver transported to hospital after crashing in Gorge

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE – A St. George man was transported to the hospital Tuesday morning after falling asleep at the wheel and crashing his car while traveling home from Las Vegas on Interstate 15.

Damage to a vehicle after a collision on I-15, just south of the Utah-Arizona border, Virgin River Gorge, May 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Debbie Gates, Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire District
Damage to a vehicle after a collision on I-15, just south of the Utah-Arizona border, Virgin River Gorge, May 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Debbie Gates, Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire District

At approximately 7:23 a.m. MST, 8:23 a.m. MDT, the 20-year-old man was northbound on I-15 near milepost 25 – 4 miles south of the Utah state line – when he dozed off and drifted off the roadway, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John T. Bottoms said.

“He hit the rumble strip, which awakened him, and he overcorrected and slid off the road, hit a dirt embankment shoulder and crashed his car,” Bottoms said.

The man, driving a 2003 black Honda Civic, was the only occupant in the vehicle at the time of the collision.

“He lost a left front tire and wheel, and all the other tires flattened from sliding through the dirt and impacting the dirt shoulder,” Bottoms said. “The dirt shoulder is elevated, so it was like hitting a wall.”

While a passerby stopped and called 911 and waited for first responders to arrive, the man said he has no recollection of who stopped and helped him, Bottoms said.

He doesn’t remember how he got out of the car,” Bottoms said. “He doesn’t know if he lost consciousness or not. He doesn’t remember anything. He just said that he was pretty tired and must have dozed off, and, as far as he can remember, he doesn’t remember anybody stopping to help him.”

The man was transported via Gold Cross Ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, where he was treated for minor injuries and released, Bottoms said.

The crash blocked a portion of the right lane of traffic, but traffic was light at the time so the accident made no significant impact on traffic.

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

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1 Comment

  • native born new mexican May 26, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    falling asleep while driving is such a big deal! A man near Price about 6 weeks ago fell asleep and killed both himself and the man driving the other vehicle. Same thing happened in New Mexico around the same time. A young woman fell asleep and hit a man driving his vehicle. She survived but he burned to death trapped in his vehicle. I drive a lot and I often drive long distances by myself. I set some hard rules for myself. I always get plenty of sleep before a long drive. No exceptions! I carry a comfortable pillow in the seat with me and I carry one of those neck pillows. if I feel myself getting sleepy I stop period. I have stopped in some weird places because I drive across the Navajo country going back and forth to New Mexico. If I am sleepy and I see a wide place off the side of the road I pull off, lock the doors and sleep for a while. I stop as often as I need to and walk around for as long as I need to. Ask me how many trading posts there are between So Utah and New Mexico. I do the same thing when I have to spend the day going back and forth to Las Vegas. I was coming back from LV a couple of weeks ago. I got sleepy so I pulled into the parking lot at the post office in Mesquite and went to sleep for about a half hour. I will not drive through the gorge sleepy. No matter what. I also can not afford an expensive motel but I was in Salt lake in April driving by myself again. i knew I had a long trip home and I was tired. I spent the precious $100.00 to get a good quiet motel room. I had a good long night’s sleep and the next morning I had a pleasant drive home. $100.00 is cheaper than a car accident. If I just can’t afford a motel I bring camping things with me and stay at a camp ground. No emergency including driving to New Mexico when my mom was passing away is worth driving sleepy. I stayed for a while in a motel in Flagstaff and then got to mom early the next morning. She would have wanted it that way.

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