2-car caravan, 3-car pileup in holiday traffic on northbound I-15

Silver 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, Milepost 85, North Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

IRON COUNTY — Three cars piled up on northbound Interstate 15 near milepost 85, about 3 miles north of the Paragonah exit, Monday afternoon, when they were traveling too close together and failed to slow down in time coming into heavily congested holiday traffic.

Black 2011 Jeep Wrangler, Milepost 85, North Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News
Black 2011 Jeep Wrangler, Milepost 85, North Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Nathan Clark said he was dispatched to milepost 85 in response to the collision at 3:21 p.m. Monday. Gold Cross Ambulance was originally called to assist, he said, but was canceled because none of the nine occupants – three from each vehicle – appeared to be injured.

A Black 2007 Volkswagen GTI, Black 2011 Jeep Wrangler and a Silver 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser  were traveling north on the inside lane of traffic, Clark said, when they encountered the congestion.

A woman driving the Toyota at the rear, collided with the Jeep carrying her friends in front of her, Clark said. The force from the rear-end strike caused the Jeep to lurch forward and rear-end the Volkswagen in front of it.

“She just said she believed that she was going too fast,” Clark said, “and she didn’t give herself enough time too stop.”

The people in the two rear vehicles had been on a a holiday trip and were heading home to the Salt Lake City area, Clark said.

The Toyota and the Jeep were forced into the median as a result of the crash and the Volkswagen in front pulled over to wait for authorities to arrive, Clark said. Both lanes of traffic were kept open, but traffic did back up to milepost 82 for some time.

Black 2007 Volkswagen GTI, Milepost 85, North Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News
Black 2007 Volkswagen GTI, Milepost 85, North Interstate 15, Iron County, Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

The driver of the Toyota told troopers she was traveling between 70 and 75 mph, Clark said. The accident was still under investigation.

The Toyota sustained significant damage to its front end, he said, was towed from the median. The Volkswagen received only minor bumper damage and the Jeep was operable and able to be driven from the scene despite small amounts of damage to both front- and rear-end bumpers.

Accidents like this are not uncommon during heavy traffic holiday periods where people are traveling, Clark said.

“During holidays such as these when you’ve got everybody coming and going at the same time out here, it can get congested pretty quickly,” he said. “People aren’t used to these speeds with this much congestion — which slows traffic down as a result — and people tend to follow too close.”

Holiday drivers should remember that there will be more traffic than usual, the trooper said, and cautioned they prepare for it.

“You need to understand that on these higher speed freeways you need more distance to stop,” he said. “So if you don’t create that distance between your car and the car in front of you, the odds of you ending up in a collision on a holiday are a little more prominent than if you were out here by yourself.”

Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • ladybugavenger February 15, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    It’s an awfully scary thing to not be able to stop in time. I like people that don’t make excuses. She knows exactly what she did. I like her and hope everyone recovers

  • .... February 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    That’s a real shame you won’t be needed for jury duty on this one eh ?

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