Alleged cellphone use leads to crash, careless driving citation

A driver was cited for careless driving and running a red light after a crash at the intersection of Dixie Drive and 600 West in St. George, Utah, Nov. 11, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A driver who police allege had been using his cellphone ran a red light and caused a two-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon at the intersection of Dixie Drive and 600 West near Tonaquint Park.

A red Mercury Tracer was traveling east in the inside lane on Dixie Drive, St. George Police Officer Dave McDaniel said. A black GMC Sierra four-door long-bed pickup truck was northbound, waiting at the light on 600 West to turn left onto Dixie Drive.

The light turned green and the truck pulled out into the intersection to make a left turn; the driver of the Mercury ran a red light and hit the truck, he said.

The man driving the Mercury was cited for careless driving and running a red light, McDaniel said.

“The careless (citation) comes from him being on his phone right before running a red light,” McDaniel said, and advised drivers to “hang up and focus on driving. ”

“That phone call, that text, it can wait until you get home,” he said, “it’s not worth someone’s life.”

The Mercury sustained heavy front-end damage and had to be towed; the truck was damaged as well.

“It (the Mercury) hit right behind the passenger door on the driver side of the vehicle,” McDaniel said. “So the door and the bed and everything was pushed all the way back in, almost to the frame.”

No one was transported for medical attention, McDaniel said. Everyone involved was wearing seat belts. Airbags in the Mercury deployed during the crash.

St. George Police Department and St. George Fire Department responded to the incident.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Ed. note Nov. 4: The driver’s use of a cellphone is an allegation of police in this report and may be challenged by the driver in the course of legal proceedings. Story updated to so indicate.

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