Crash in Virgin River Gorge kills 1, injures 1

A gray Nissan 4-door passenger car is overturned on Interstate 15 following a two-car crash that killed a Washington City man Wednesday, Mohave County, Ariz., Mar. 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Washington City man was killed in a violent two-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona, Wednesday.

The driver of a white Saturn sedan is dead following a two-vehicle crash Wednesday on Interstate 15, Mohave County, Arizona, Mar. 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms, St. George News

The man, identified as 56-year-old John Keysor of Washington City, was pronounced dead at the scene, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said.

Keysor was southbound on I-15 in a white Saturn four-door when he stopped his vehicle in a lane of traffic near mile marker 12 in Mohave County. His vehicle was then struck from behind by a gray Nissan as it came around a near-blind curve in the roadway, Bottoms said.

The 30-year-old woman driving the Nissan was injured when her vehicle rolled after the impact. She was transported to Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite, Nevada, for treatment, the sergeant said.

Witnesses told officers that when Keysor neared the Interstate’s exit out of the Virgin River Gorge, he stopped his vehicle “for reasons unknown,” Bottoms said.

As the Nissan driver traveled around a slight bend in the roadway that hid the stationary Saturn from her view, Bottoms said, her vehicle slammed into it.

“She estimated her speed at 70 after another car passed her going very fast,” Bottoms said, “and didn’t recall hitting her brakes before the impact.”

A 2014 Nissan passenger car rolls after striking another vehicle that was stopped in the southbound lane of Interstate 15 near mile marker 12 in Mohave County, Arizona, Mar. 8, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Chief Jeff Hunt, St. George News

The force of the impact sent the Nissan rolling over until it came to rest upside down.

Officers were unable to determine the reason Keysor was stopped in the lane, Bottoms said.

“Before she (the Nissan driver) knew it the car was stopped and right in front of her, and it was already too late,” the trooper said.

Witnesses told officers at the scene that prior to the crash other motorists observed Keysor several miles back driving erratically, Bottoms said.

“A couple of witnesses observed the Saturn near the Utah state line driving erratically, where the driver sped up, changed lanes and even exited the Interstate,” Bottoms said, “only to be seen several minutes later passing them.”

The woman driving the Nissan was wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision and was treated at the hospital and later released. Keysor was not restrained when the fatal crash occurred.

The Mohave County Medical Examiner’s office transported Keysor’s body from the scene.

The right-hand lane of I-15 at the crash site was closed from noon until 3:15 p.m. to allow emergency personnel to tend to the scene while officers conducted the investigation, Bottoms said.

Traffic was backed up for more than a mile until it began moving slowly.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District and Beaver Dam/Littlefield 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.

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

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  • mmsandie March 9, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Reasons why I don,t go thru the horse but I’ve taken rte 91 got the past 6 yrs.. Cars go too fast , the speed limit is 55.. But you don,t see many people pulled over mainly because the way the gorge is designed there are only a few stops where you can pull a car over and be safe.too bad fir the driver but why did they stop in the traffic lane??guess no one will know…

    • high5 March 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

      I stay away from goin thru a Horse too.

      So Glad the Gal survived..

      So Sad For the gentleman.
      and His Family.

  • D.R. 37 March 10, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Driver of the Nissan is lucky to be alive after basically hitting a parked car @ 70 mph!

  • comments March 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Terrible thing. The Nissan held up really well compared to the other one. hmm

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