Driver rolls car in Virgin River Gorge, walks away, hitches ride home

Stock composite image, St. George News

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. – A man rolled his vehicle early Monday morning in the Virgin River Gorge, then climbed out and hitched a ride home to the St. George area.

“The driver claims that he was cut off by a commercial vehicle,” Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said. “(He) lost control, rolled his car, extricated himself and then flagged down a passing motorist who gave him a ride into St. George.”

The accident occurred on Interstate 15 near mile marker 12.6 in Arizona, just inside the mouth of the gorge, Bottoms said, and involved a Washington man driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla northbound.

The man waited nearly five hours before reporting the accident. He called St. George Police to report the incident at 8:15 a.m. and told officers the crash happened around 3:30 a.m.

Arizona law enforcement officials will be interviewing the driver today, Bottoms said.

“There was some blood inside the car, so he’s got some minor injuries,” Bottoms said. “But he didn’t really want to go to the hospital and be examined. I don’t know exactly why he didn’t have somebody just call law enforcement when he wrecked his car rather than driving him all the way to St. George.”

The area where the Toyota rolled was covered in debris, with parts of the vehicle everywhere, Bottoms said.

“His car was just crushed,” Bottoms said, “so it’s a very good thing he was wearing a seat belt because he would still be out there and would be deceased if he hadn’t been.”

The Toyota rolled across a drainage ditch, Bottoms said. Speed may have been a factor.

“He had to have been going at least 65-75 mph – at least that fast – to clear that ditch without touching any of the bottom portion of it. He rolled right over the top of it.”

A decision on whether to issue any citations will not be made until officers meet with the driver, Bottoms said. The Toyota was towed from 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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Twitter: @STGnews

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

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  • .... August 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    It was ISIS

  • RealMcCoy August 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    You could have made your stock composite picture REALLY exciting and added a T-Rex standing over the flipped car, holding a half-eaten mountain goat in it’s jaws as it roared.
    I mean, if you wanted better click-bait, that is….

  • ladybugavenger August 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Had to sober up

  • digger August 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Bottoms, No Cell Service In Gorge.
    maybe He needed a Nap before Dealing With Law Enforcement.

    • DB August 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      I agree. The liver needs time to do it’s thing to remove alcohol from one’s system…ISIS isn’t a bad excuse, either.

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