2 car crash greets New Zealand tourists

St. George Police Officer David Slack shows young visitors from New Zealand his patrol vehicle after a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard left the visiting family temporarily stranded, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Thanks to kindness from strangers, a New Zealand family visiting the area discovered that driving a rental car and being involved in a two-car collision could also make for some great vacation memories.

No serious injuries were reported.

Emergency personnel respond to a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard and 100 East Wednesday afternoon, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Emergency personnel respond to a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard and 100 East Wednesday afternoon, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday emergency personnel were dispatched to a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard near 100 East, St. George Police Officer Jamison Hale said.

Upon arrival officers found a gold Toyota Corolla in the center median of the Boulevard and a white Jeep Grand Cherokee on 100 East.

The Toyota was driven by an elderly woman who reported having chest pains when responders first arrived. She was quickly taken into an ambulance and monitored by emergency medical personnel.

The family of four in the Jeep reported they were uninjured in the crash, Hale said.

The man driving the Jeep told officers he and his family were visiting from New Zealand and were heading east on St. George Boulevard toward Interstate 15 when the crash occurred.

As it turned out the New Zealand tourists were on their way to a lodge they had reserved in Bryce Canyon, intent on hiking through the park the following day.

Just as the man driving the Jeep approached 100 East, the woman driving the Toyota crossed over into his lane of travel. In trying to avoid the crash he slammed on his brakes. Despite his efforts the two vehicles collided in the middle of the boulevard.

A gold Toyota Corolla was launched onto the center median after a two car collision on St. George Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
A gold Toyota Corolla was launched onto the center median after a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The impact sent both vehicles spinning in the intersection until the Jeep came to rest facing south on 100 East. The Toyota was launched onto the center median of St. George Boulevard and wound up facing east.

The woman in the Toyota reported that she was stopped at the corner of 100 East and St. George Boulevard waiting to cross over and head south. Just then another vehicle pulled up alongside to the right of her vehicle, seemingly to make a right hand turn, Hale said.

At that point the view of the Toyota driver was blocked, so she never saw the Jeep as she started through the intersection until it was too late.

“We had just rented the car at the airport,” the man driving the Jeep said, “and were headed toward the freeway on our way to Bryce Canyon when this happened.”

The man was traveling with his wife and two young children from their home in New Zealand and said this was day five of their visit to the U.S.

Meanwhile, the elderly woman who reported having chest pains after the crash was being looked after by EMT’s while a family member came to pick her up, Hale said.

After a short time, Kenzie Truman, an employee of Stapley Pharmacy, made her way on foot to the stranded family, bringing bottles of water. Truman said she and the other employees at the pharmacy heard the crash, but initially thought the sound came from a delivery truck at another business nearby.

“When I saw them out there with their children I just thought they may need water,” Truman said. “It was hot and once I handed it to them I could tell they were visitors and I just wanted to make sure they had something to drink.”

Both vehicles sustained extensive damage and were towed from the scene. All vehicle occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

The family's luggage was taken from the rented Jeep and placed on East 100 while they waited for a cab after a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard Wednesday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
The family’s luggage was taken from the rented Jeep and placed on East 100 while they waited for a cab after a two-car collision on St. George Boulevard Wednesday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News.

Once the scene was cleared St. George Police Officer David Slack called for a cab to take the now car-less family back to the St. George Regional Airport. A replacement vehicle was made available at Avis Rent-a-Car, once the company was advised of the crash, the New Zealand visitor said.

While the family waited for the cab to arrive Slack gave the two children a tour of his police car and explained what different objects were used for, showing them the police lights and other items of interest while the parents took pictures.

“They’ll have an unusual vacation story to tell when they get home,” their mother said, “they’ve never been in a police car.”

The St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded and tended 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.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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13 Comments

  • Harold S. September 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

    So my insurance increased by almost $400.00 this year over last year. Why? I called my insurance company and asked then why my increase was so high, because I have never even filed a claim on my own policy since I went with my company over 20 years ago. Their answer is, “because of all these car crashes that we are having in Washington County.” They told me that my rate is based on the number of crashes in the metropolitan area I live in (county). So basically everyone get punished for other people’s bad driving which result in car crashes. People need to learn how to safely drive or STAY HOME. I constantly see people running red lights in St. George and using their phones while driving. Time for the citation fines to get higher so that we can at least hit these bad drivers where it hurts. After all that’s what they are doing to us responsible drivers.

    • CaliGirl September 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Harold, it’s time you do some insurance shopping. Sounds like your insurance is pulling a fast one.

    • Bob September 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      yea mine just creeps up–goes up 20$ or so every 6 mos

    • Cody Blowers October 12, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      Hello Harold,

      My name is Cody Blowers and I wrote the story you commented on, and am writing a story on whether there is an increase in car insurance rates and how that relates to crashes here in Washington County. While I have a great deal of background information on this, I am having difficulty obtaining quotes from the different insurance companies.
      Be that as it may, I would like to speak with you regarding your experience with the increase, and to obtain a little more information for the story. Thank you for writing in, as your comments have generated a great deal of activity with different agencies, and the topic is important. I can be reached at 435-669-7621 or by email at cblowers@stgnews.com. Again, thank you for writing in, and for bringing the subject to the table. Warm Regards, Cody

  • .... September 29, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Insurance rates are based on where you live

    • Kristi September 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Exactly and where you live if there’s so many accidents they actually go by that, and they check the crime rate too. Thats why it was so much cheapier when I moved here from N. Las Vegas. And no don’t think for once that Harold’s ins is the only one doing this. Its been going on for a long time now.
      Remember it’s our privilege to drive and if we don’t like the way things are done then we don’t have to drive!!! (Sarcasm)

      • .... September 30, 2016 at 12:59 am

        Or you could just move to a deserted Island somewhere

    • Real Life September 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Wow! Pure genius! This guy is an expert on everything!

      • .... September 30, 2016 at 8:31 am

        We are so blessed to live in a loving and caring community as St George. where our care and love reaches out to our friends in many different countries
        we are so pleased you came to spend time here in this pleasant community and we always welcome all with open arms.

        on behalf of our community we are glad no one was hurt. and as you continue on your journey. Know that our prayers will always be with you. Praise the Lord

      • .... October 1, 2016 at 8:17 am

        God bless you my fellow brethren

  • Mean Momma September 30, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Welcome to St. George, wouldn’t want this family to leave town without getting the full experience. Glad this elderly lady could be of service ?

  • .... September 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Well they will always remember their time spent in St George. maybe the city could start a tour service of all our crash sites in St George

  • .... September 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I’m just glad no one was hurt. we are so blessed to live in a caring and loving community as St George. I hope they continue their journey without any other mishap.

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