News Short: A quick decision to switch lanes results in crash on Minersville Highway

A minivan and PT Cruiser crash on Minersville Highway and Midvalley Road after one of the drivers switches lanes, Enoch City, Utah July 22, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News/ Cedar City News
A minivan and PT Cruiser crash on Minersville Highway and Midvalley Road after one of the drivers switches lanes, Enoch City, Utah July 22, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News/ Cedar City News

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.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

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




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  • Mary Ellen July 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I was the driver of the blue van, this article is misleading and I was never interviewed for this article.

    #1 I am currently in MASSIVE PAIN with a neck brace and immobilized shoulder as I was taken from the scene collared and on a stretcher by ambulance taken to the hospital.
    I have spine, neck, shoulder hip and head injuries.

    #2 I was NEVER in the right lane… I was in the MAIN Lane, after I turned my right signal on (on my way to the hub) I remembered I needed to go to the cattle auction to drop my daughter off to her father so I figured id take midballey to 2300 w to get there. So i switched the blinker to left looked back, didn’t see a car, and began to merge. The PT CRUIZER 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 …

    #3 the officer never interviewed me or my 15 year old daughter to get our statements until I was at the hospital and it was after she had already decided what happened because she had only heard the other driver’s viewpoint because she had the ticket in hand already after I told her “my side”

    • RealMcCoy July 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Your story makes little sense, and reguardless- you still hit the other car.
      There are crazy drivers everywhere, but it still falls on each driver to be responsible for their own vehicle. Just because you didn’t see the car, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there- it obviously was!
      You say the other car was driving too fast? It sounds like you were driving erratically. You admit you suddenly lane-changed into another car.
      Sorry for your pain and loss (of your vehicle), but you need to be more aware of the road around you.

    • ladybugavenger July 23, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Sorry for injuries but it was your responsibility as you were the one changing lanes also perhaps you were both prematurely changing lanes but you can’t switch blinkers and move over quickly, it’s confusing to the drivers behind you.

      Wish I could on your side Mary. Give me some more detail on how it’s the other drivers fault besides your account of other driver speeding and changing lanes.

      • Mary Ellen July 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        Considering the PT cruiser was behind the car behind me … (2 vehicles behind me) she was the one driving irratically …
        I switched the blinker left looked in the mirrors and physically looked and she was not there ..I did not just flip it and move … I turned on my blinker back by ladybug She was still behind the white Jeep…
        She admitted to going 35-40 mph I had slowed to 10-15 .. Which is witnessed by all of the witness statements

        • RealMcCoy July 27, 2016 at 4:13 pm

          SO you admit to dropping WELL below the traffic speed and thereby cutting off another car that was going the proper speed limit (twice your claimed speed), yet it is the fault of the car that you cut off and hit?
          Lady, they must have you on some really good narcotics for your ‘pain’.
          Best advice- shut up and get a lawyer before the judge sees what you are admitting to.

  • .... July 23, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    is that the truth .the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you a bag of Cheetos and a Coke ?

  • DB July 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I’ll take you at your word, but I hope you talked to a Lawyer before you spilled out your guts to an online newspaper…Just Saying…

    • mesaman July 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Agreed except that I won’t take her word for it. Trooper Baie is in the best position to determine the cause of the accident. She was trained in accident investigation. Did a physician confirm the trauma that the driver of the van claimed? She’ll want to take that with her when she appears in traffic court. (I assume she will protest the citation.)

  • WhatDoIKnow July 24, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Sounds like you just admitted to what you were cited for lol Trooper Baie is the best of the best when it comes to crash investigations too so good luck with fighting this one. You’re lucky it wasn’t a motorcycle you didn’t see as you could have killed someone with your erratic behavior. Take responsibility for your actions instead of contacting the paper and whining about how you were done wrong by the investigating Trooper.

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