Identity released, arrest made in crash off Cedar Canyon cliff

Suspected drunk driver lands at the bottom of a 20- to 30-foot embankment on the east side of state Route 14, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 18, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – The identity of a woman who drove her Ford Expedition off a cliff on state Route 14 near the mouth of Cedar Canyon Tuesday night has been released, along with a battery of charges that came against her following the incident.

Keisha Amber Caruso, 28, of Cedar City, was booked into the Iron County Jail at 2:46 a.m. Wednesday by Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Bambi Baie, who conducted the investigation into an accident that resulted in Caruso driving off a 20- to 30-foot cliff.

Keisha Amber Caruso, Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, August 19, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Keisha Amber Caruso, of Cedar City, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 19, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s bookings, St. George News

Baie followed Caruso to Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City after the incident. Caruso was transported from the crash site by Gold Cross Ambulance for a possible broken nose in relation to the airbag deployment in her SUV.

Following treatment at the hospital, Caruso was arrested on an outstanding class C misdemeanor warrant, which resulted from an unpaid ticket she received in June for failing to register her SUV. She was additionally charged with three class C misdemeanors relating to the car accident: a second charge for failure to register a motor vehicle, one for unsafe lane change, and a third for failing to obtain a Utah driver’s license, Baie said.

Caruso has a current Arizona driver’s license, Baie said, but she has lived in Utah for too long to not have transferred it to her current state of residency.

Caruso was additionally charged with two class B misdemeanors: one for driving under the influence and one for driving without insurance.

Reports of Caruso’s accident were received Tuesday evening. A call came in to dispatch prior to the accident regarding a possible drunk driver in the area of the Cedar Bowling Center. Then, at around 9:30 p.m., a witness reported an accident on state Route 14 at the mouth of Cedar Canyon.

“We knew that this vehicle was out there and were looking for it,” Baie said. “And we knew that it was a possibly impaired driver. … The car that was following her up the canyon said she was weaving all over the road, back and forth, back and forth.”

Caruso was living out of her car, Baie said, and it is believed she was sleeping in Cedar Canyon, so she may have been looking for a place to sleep when the accident occurred.

Suspected drunk driver lands at the bottom of a 20- to 30-foot embankment on the east side of state Route 14, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 18, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Suspected drunk driver lands at the bottom of a 20- to 30-foot embankment on the east side of state Route 14, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 18, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

Besides the impairment, there seemed to be no other signs of distraction that caused Caruso to launch her SUV off the road in the manner she did, Baie said. There were no cell phone distractions, no vehicle malfunctions or animals that ran in front of the car causing her to jerk to the right, she said.

It is suspected that Caruso’s blood alcohol level will come back incredibly high, Baie said, though test results have not yet been received.

“She just kept saying that she had had way too much to drink and that she didn’t want a DUI,” Baie said.

Caruso was released from the hospital into UHP custody with minor injuries, Baie said. She was then booked into the Iron County Jail.

Caruso was still in custody as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. Bail is set at $175 cash only for the warrant and $580 bondable for additional charges.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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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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1 Comment

  • indy-vfr August 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

    When you’re a little too drunk…..gotta catch some zzzz’s. No DL, insurance, registration…..use the “immigrant defense” you’ll get a slap on the wrist.

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