ST. GEORGE – One man’s attempt to cheer up his foster daughter didn’t quite go as planned Tuesday afternoon when a joyride across the Virgin River resulted in his truck dropping into a large hole hidden beneath the water’s surface.
St. George resident Stephen Larkowski had just gotten off work and picked his 14-year-old foster daughter up soon afterward. The teen had been having a few rough days, he said, and going four-wheeling tends to cheer her up.
Since she didn’t seem so enthused by the idea of accompanying him as he gave his truck a dirt bath, Larkowski said, he tried another route and asked if she wanted to give the truck a bath in the Virgin River … and she agreed.
Larkowski entered the river near the area of the Mall Drive Bridge around 4:30 p.m. and started to drive through the water. Not long after, his truck dropped into a deep hole. The truck has an 8-inch lift, he said, and the hole had dropped the truck to the point the water reached midway up the driver’s side door.
“So I just started going down the river and found a hole – the one and only hole in the river,” Larkowski said while laughing about the incident. He and the teen were able to get out of the truck unharmed.
Some people who saw the partially-swamped truck stopped by and offered to help. One couple with a work truck went into the river to help pull Larkowski’s truck out in conjunction with a heavy-duty tow truck set on the eastern shore of the river.
From within the cab of the white truck, a cocker spaniel peered out the window with a plaintive look. It was as if the dog was asking what madness its owners had given into, putting them all in the middle of the river.
While the truck was able to get out of the hole proper at some point, it was still remained stuck in the riverbed as continued attempts to pull it out completely failed.
Finally, around 7:50 p.m., Larkowski’s truck was pulled loose. The truck screeched as it rose out of the hole and made it back on shore. However, Larkowski then had to go back into the river to help pull out the white truck that had gotten stuck trying to liberate his vehicle.
Once back on land, the many dozen spectators that had gathered along the shore and on the Mall Drive Bridge to watch the chaos unfold began to disperse. Others who arrived late lamented they had missed the show.
The number of vehicles needing extra help to get out of the area did not end with the two trucks in the river, however. The heavy-duty tow truck’s back end had sunk into the sand by the river’s edge as well. it was able to regain traction after being pulled out by the white work truck that had been in the river.
No injuries were reported in connection with the incident. As for Larkowski’s truck, based on the sound of a high-pitched screech the truck was making when he drove it, he thought he may have broken an axle.
One bright spot to this father-daughter adventure: The truck’s rims sure came out clean and shiny.
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