LEEDS – A woman on her way to see the NASCAR races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway crashed and landed in a ravine off Interstate 15 Monday morning, and the resulting slowdown triggered another accident involving a family on their way to Disneyland.
The first single-car accident was reported at approximately 9:05 a.m., Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said. Just before the crash, the female driver of a 2007 Ford Mustang was reported to be driving recklessly.
“Before units could even start going that way, she crashed,” Hicks said.
The Mustang was southbound, coming around a curve approximately a mile south of Leeds near mile marker 21 when the driver lost control of the vehicle, probably due to speed, Hicks said. She went off the left shoulder, then overcorrected to the right and, still hitting her brakes, collided head-on with a dirt and rock embankment.
As opposed to the vehicle going into a roll, Hicks said the collision caused her vehicle to go into what they call a “vault.”
“(The car) launched into the air … and landed on top of the hill,” Hicks said. “Straight up and down on the rear bumper.”
The Mustang continued over the hill and eventually landed on its wheels approximately 50 yards down a ravine on the west side of the freeway.
“Very spectacular crash, very violent. Her saving grace in all of this was, she was wearing her seat belt, and the airbags did deploy,” Hicks said.
“Without the seat belt, who knows,” he said, “but I would have hated to have seen what happened without seat belts. There’s no doubt in Hicks’ mind that the seat belt saved her life.
However, Hicks said what would also have saved her was slowing down and obeying traffic laws.
The driver of the Mustang, a woman in her 40s from North Ogden, was the only occupant of the car. When first responders arrived at the accident, she complained of back and neck pain and was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center where she is listed in good condition, Hicks said.
The driver will be issued a citation for speeding, Hicks said, however the investigation is ongoing. The Mustang was heavily damaged and had to be towed up from the scene.
A second accident was triggered by slowing traffic near the site of the first crash. A maroon Honda Odyssey rear-ended a white Volkswagen Jetta. A husband, wife, and two children — ages 7 and 9 — from Plain City were in the Jetta traveling to Disneyland.
The Jetta was slowing down because of the other traffic congestion when the Odyssey, driven by a Washington County woman in her 40s, struck the Jetta from behind.
“She didn’t realize traffic was stopping as quickly as it was, or slowing down as quickly as it was and hit her brakes far too late and rear-ended the VW,” Hicks said.
No one was injured in the fender bender, and both cars had only minor damage, so Hicks had both vehicles move south to Exit 13 in order to get off the freeway before taking the accident report.
“The little girl asked me after the crash, ‘Are we still going to be able still to go to Disneyland?'” Hicks said.
The family was able to continue their journey.
It is not uncommon for secondary accidents to happen after a crash on I-15, and Hicks advises the public to slow down anytime they see emergency lights or vehicles and watch for traffic to slow or stop near a crash scene.
Washington County Sherriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol, Leeds Fire and Rescue and Utah Department of Transportation responded to the scene.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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