Semitractor-trailer loaded with hay rolls into river

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A semitractor-trailer loaded with hay apparently failed to negotiate a sharp corner on Old Highway 91 Sunday morning and rolled down an embankment into the river below.

A semitractor-trailer loaded with hay failed to negotiate a turn on Old Highway 91 Sunday morning, and rolled down a 40 foot embankment to the river below. Washington County, Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

Washington County Sheriff’s deputies on scene said the accident happened about 8:30 a.m. this morning although it wasn’t reported until just before 10 a.m.

A man was driving south with a load of hay on Old Highway 91 just past the Shivwits Convenience Store when he apparently took a blind turn too fast and went off the roadway to the left. There was a sharp drop-off where he went off, and the semi rolled down an approximately 40-foot embankment into the river below.

Hay was floating on the surface of the water and was piled high on the banks of the river. The semitractor came to rest on its left side, while the semitrailer came to rest practically upside down, being held up only by the kingpin of the fifth-wheel mechanism on the semitractor.

See video in the media player top of this report.

The driver of the semi was rescued by first responders. He was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George with moderate but not life-threatening injuries.

The position of the semi off the road led deputies to first call Andrus Towing, asking them to bring their heavy wrecker out. When the driver arrived, he realized his rig was not enough to pull the semitractor up the hill and Ruesch Machine of St. George was called.

A mangled semitractor lies on the road after being lifted from a riverbed below. Wasthington County, Feb. 5, 2017 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

Ruesch Machine brought out a heavy duty crane. With the crane, they were able to release the semitrailer from the semitractor, attach chains to key points around the frame and lift the approximately 20,000-pound tractor out of the river. Andrus Towing then pulled the wreck off the road.

The semitrailer was next. The hay remaining fell off as the trailer was lifted, but the lift was successful and the trailer was hoisted on the highway and hauled away by another Andrus semitractor.

The wreck was not cleared totally until almost 3 p.m.

Deputies blocked all traffic between the Shivwits Convenience Store and about half a mile to the south of the wreck while recovery and cleanup was done. The road closure lasted about two hours.

Whether the driver received a citation was unknown at the time this report was taken. Units from the Washington County Sheriff’s office, Gold Cross Ambulance and the Utah Highway Patrol also responded to the scene.

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

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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