Distracted driver ends phone call, hits 2 pedestrians

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A driver using his cell phone hit an older couple crossing 700 East Thursday evening, sending both pedestrians to the hospital.

Just after 7 p.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to South 700 East near East 400 South, not far from the Dixie State University Cox Performing Arts Center, after a call came into the St. George Communications Center reporting two people were hit by a car.

Several officers responded along with two fire engines and Gold Cross Ambulance, St. George Police Public Information Officer Lona Trombley said. Paramedics immediately transported both in stable condition to Dixie Regional Medical Center.

The couple suffered various injuries, St. George Police Capt. Mike Giles said, adding that the woman possibly suffered a head injury.

The driver, a man in his 20s, told officers that as he headed north on South 700 East he was making a phone call, however the person he was calling didn’t answer, Trombley said. Immediately after the driver hit “end” on the call he looked up just in time to see the couple as his car struck them.

The man was driving a dark-colored Honda passenger car, Giles said.

Preliminary findings showed neither speed a factor in the crash nor was the driver impaired, although he was distracted, Trombley said.

The St. George Police Department’s accident reconstruction team was paged and responded to the scene to investigate the incident and remained there for more than two hours, Giles said.

The incident remains under investigation.

The St. George Police and Fire departments, officers from Dixie State University, the St. George Accident Reconstruction Team and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene.

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

Update Dec. 22, 2016: Accident reconstruction has been completed. St. George Police Public Information Officer Lona Trombley said the report indicates the couple referred to in this report crossed at the corner of 700 East and 400 South, which officers listed as an “unmarked crosswalk,” noting they left from a corner.

It was not raining, but the roads were wet and the area is dark. The main contributor police investigators determined was that which the driver openly admitted to police at the scene, that he had just hit “end” on his phone after trying to call someone that did not answer and when he looked up, he saw the couple, but it was too late.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

21 Comments

  • Real Life December 16, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Utah needs to pass tougher laws to help curb this, like Nevada has done. It happens way to often here.

    • Rainbow Dash December 16, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Explain your logic, How will tougher cell phone laws prevent criminals from using their cell phone while driving but tougher gun laws WONT prevent criminals from using their gun inside a movie theatre?

      • Real Life December 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        In Nevada it is illegal to use a cellular device to make a call, or text. It can be up to a $250 fine. It no doubt is at least a deterrent to the problem. As far as gun laws go, that is a whole different ball game. Everone has phones, and people are always using them, one way or another. When operating a 4,000 pound vehicle going 50 miles an hour, it is not a good time to be distracted by a 10 ounce electrical device.

        • Rainbow Dash December 16, 2016 at 2:30 pm

          “As far as gun laws go, that is a whole different ball game”.

          Okay, How?

          In every state it is illegal to commit a crime using a gun. The penalty can be death. It no doubt is at least a deterrent to the problem. Yet crimes committed using guns are on the rise. Why do you think that is?

          • 42214 December 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm

            2 significant reasons for increased gun violence are: 1. Often gun crimes are a heat of the moment or passion crime where resaonable thinking is absent. 2: Any punishment requires two fundamental factors, swift and sure. Criminals using guns often don’t take seriously the punishment that takes way too long to take effect and is anything but sure.
            As far as cell phones, strong, aggressive enforcement of vehicle code violations of distracted driving in a small community like this goes a long way to create an air of “cooperation”.

          • wilbur December 16, 2016 at 5:15 pm

            “…crimes committed using guns are on the rise…”

            manifestly untrue….stop with the lib kool-aid

          • Rainbow Dash December 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm

            42214, 1 significant reason for increased distracted driving deaths is:
            1) Often distracted driving deaths are caused by people who think “it won’t happen to me” or “everyone does it”
            I actually got into a debate about speed limits with a classmate a few weeks ago. She said she was going 48 in a 40 zone and got a ticket. She said that she was “innocent” and maintained that she should have not been ticketed because “everyone goes at least 5mph over the speed limit”.

            I actually agree with Real Life and DB. I think Utah’s “You can do this but not that” law is ineffective because, for example, people can be talking on the phone but not dial phone number. You can be looking at a GPS app on the phone but not texting.

            Here’s Nevada’s more effective law

            Here’s Utah’s ineffective law

      • Sapphire December 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        Cell phone users aren’t criminals, they are careless, self-centered people who think they are capable of driving and texting or talking on a phone at the same time. What do people who intentionally go out to hurt others with guns got to do with gabby people who can’t stay off their phones for a few minutes?

        • 42214 December 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          When your loved one is killed by an irresponsible law breaking cell phone user tell me they’re not criminals, they’re just careless. You live in LaLa Land.

          • Sapphire December 18, 2016 at 7:29 am

            The key is intent. I never said they aren’t responsible for their actions. The problem is we now live in a society where people think they can do anything they please, have no concept of accountability, and who have no respect for the rights of others or law and order.

    • .... December 16, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      L0L ! There it is.. duhhhhh more laws and tougher laws. uhhhhhhhh yep ! That’s the answer. Ha ha ha ha yeah that will stop people from using their cell phones. LOL !

      • Real Life December 17, 2016 at 6:35 am

        People with jobs are having a discussion here. We will wake you up when it’s done.

  • Not_So_Much December 16, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Hands free needs to be the law.

    • DB December 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      I agree. I don’t use the phone in the car and am not as conversant on the subject as some of you. To me, the UT law seems too ambiguous. You can do ‘this’ but not ‘that’. Let’s align our law so as to agree with our neighboring states, at the very least.

  • ladybugavenger December 16, 2016 at 11:55 am

    RD has a good point.

    People’s behavior and choices need to change and no law, no matter how many or how strict, will change a person’s heart. Only God can change a person’s heart.

    And we all know people don’t let God in to do that change.

  • Tony December 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Why did you not report they were jay walking? Or that it was raining and not very lit part of the road?

    All of which are major factors in this. One sided journalism is cancer. This is just another article you give half-ass information.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic December 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Tony, you raised good questions and so our reporter made further inquiry of police on their findings as the report first taken is based on preliminary information provided by police. An update has been added to the report as follows:

      Update Dec. 22, 2016: Accident reconstruction has been completed. St. George Police Public Information Officer Lona Trombley said the report indicates the couple referred to in this report crossed at the corner of 700 East and 400 South, which officers listed as an “unmarked crosswalk,” noting they left from a corner.

      It was not raining, but the roads were wet and the area is dark. The main contributor police investigators determined was that which the driver openly admitted to police at the scene, that he had just hit “end” on his phone after trying to call someone that did not answer and when he looked up, he saw the couple, but it was too late.

      Thank you for your attention and good questions.

      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • Interesting point December 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Yes, they also should have stricter laws on Jay walking Since that is what this couple was doing due to the fact that they were not using the cross walk. there was not enough light at the intersection and it was a rainy night. It was a bummer for all three people. I hope all three people are doing ok.

  • Diana December 16, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    https://www.cnet.com/news/cell-phones-as-dangerous-as-drunk-driving/
    This link makes an excellent point to this article. I’ve seen many drivers talking and texting, and they crash.

  • debbie December 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    as republican who supports gun rights.. rainbow dash made a good point. so, that said.. just like with guns.. if you kill someone using your phone or while using your phone.. you should probably get the same charges maybe? no need to stop everyone from owning a phone.. just saying.. the phone itself did NOT hit the people.. it had a little help.

    also, gun violence is only on the rise in the cities they’ve outlawed.. look it up.

    i hope the pair survives with no long term problems.. life is so hard without injuries to add to it.. will pray.

Leave a Reply