Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the driver’s version of the incident.
ENOCH CITY – A driver ended up stiff and sore Friday, authorities said, after she hit one vehicle and nearly another while switching lanes.
A driver in a 2000 blue Windstar minivan was traveling north in the outside lane on Minersville Highway, planning to take a right turn on Midvalley Road in Enoch when she realized she needed to take a left turn, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Bambi Baie said.
At the last minute, Baie said, and while still traveling in the far right lane, the driver quickly diverted her vehicle over to the middle turn lane at the intersection of the two roads.
At the same time, a 2003 dark green PT Cruiser also traveling north on Minersville Highway had moved over to the middle lane to make a left turn. The vehicle was approximately 35 feet from the intersection when the driver of the minivan diverted over, in part sideswiping the PT Cruiser and nearly hitting another vehicle behind her, Baie said.
“The driver of the minivan said she didn’t see the PT Cruiser when she moved over,” Baie said. “I don’t know what happened, if the car was in her blind spot or what, but she said she didn’t see it.”
Both vehicles had to be towed due to the damage sustained from the crash, however authorities said they believe the minivan is totaled.
While the minivan driver complained of soreness and stiffness no major injuries were reported from the crash that occurred at around 6 p.m., Baie said.
The driver of the minivan was cited for improper left turn.
Update: The driver of the minivan, Mary Ellen Crase, contacted Cedar City News Saturday and disputed the investigation findings of the UHP Trooper.
Crase denied ever being in the right hand turn lane and said she was driving in the main lane next to the turn lane. However, Baie said she had three witnesses, two who allege they were driving right behind Crase, that all reported the same thing. Baie again confirmed the same details Saturday in an interview with Cedar City News.
“They (three witnesses) all said the same thing, she was in the right hand turn lane and diverted over to the middle left turn lane,” Baie said. “Two witnesses were behind her and the other was the driver of the PT Cruiser.”
Crase also accused Baie of making a preconceived decision before speaking with her. Baie, who has advanced investigation training, said the evidence of the scene and the three witnesses all contributed to her findings.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Crase made the comment that both parties involved in the crash had been cited with traffic tickets. Baie denied giving anyone else a ticket but Crase.
Crase also blamed the other driver for the crash saying they were”driving so fast and prematurely got into the middle lane.”
“The PT Cruiser was driving so fast and prematurely got into the middle lane clipped the back of my car, spun my car and hit my driver door … had I side swiped her car my car would have been scratch all the way down the side (sic),” Crase stated on her Facebook page.
Baie said her investigation of the scene did not show the same story.
“But it doesn’t really matter,” Baie said, “you cannot move in front of someone that is in the left turn lane. You can’t do that. So she was cited for improper left turn.”
In addition, Crase said she was transported to Cedar City Hospital for what she maintains are “major injuries.” Crase reported she suffers from “head trauma, cervical strain, shoulder injury and muscle strain.” She also produced a hospital record showing she was treated for the same.
Baie confirmed Crase was transported to the hospital via ambulance but said she did not complain Friday night of having any “major injuries.”
“She said she was sore from the seat belt and that her head was hurting and complained of a little whiplash,” Baie said. “She never complained to me about any major injuries.”
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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