Teen driver dies in T-bone collision near Diamond Valley

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A teenage girl was killed Sunday evening in a T-bone collision on state Route 18 near Diamond Valley.

A Dodge pickup truck sustains heavy damage after being involved in a fatal collision on SR-18, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Medical and law enforcement personnel were dispatched at approximately 8:30 p.m. to the scene of the crash at the junction of SR-18 and Diamond Valley Drive.

See video top of this report.

A young man, 19, was northbound on SR-18 in a Dodge pickup truck when a girl, 17, driving a Chevrolet passenger car made a left turn from Diamond Valley Drive onto SR-18 in front of the oncoming Dodge pickup, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Pastor said.

“The Dodge pickup (driver) was unable to stop to avoid a collision and T-boned the small passenger car,” he said.

The girl driving the Chevrolet died in the crash as a result of severe injuries. Her name was not released at the time this report was taken.

UPDATE: Victim’s name released in fatal Diamond Valley collision

There was one passenger in the Chevrolet who, Pastor said, UHP believes was also a teenager. That person was able to get out of the car them self and received preliminary medical care from bystanders before medical responders arrived. The teen was then transported to the hospital by Gold Cross Ambulance.

A Chevrolet passenger car sustains heavy damage after being involved in a fatal collision on SR-18, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The young man driving the Dodge pickup was wearing his seat belt, Pastor said, and escaped injury.

Intermountain Life Flight was dispatched to the scene and landed nearby but left when it was confirmed the girl had died.

“Right now we don’t believe speed was a factor,” Pastor said of the cause of the crash. “We believe it was a failure to yield by the passenger car to the main flow of traffic on SR-18.”

In the aftermath of the crash, a thick smoke filled the air, apparently emitted from the damaged vehicles. The Chevrolet appeared to be totaled, having sustained heavy damage to the driver’s side. The Dodge pickup’s front end also appeared to be heavily damaged.

Mortuary personnel arrived to tend to the body.

A Chevrolet passenger car sustains heavy damage after being involved in a fatal collision on SR-18, Washington County, Utah, April 2, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

SR-18 traffic in both directions was blocked for about 40 minutes while the scene was cleared.

Deputies from Washington County Sheriff’s Office and emergency personnel from Dammeron Valley Fire Department and Rescue and Diamond Valley Fire Department were on hand to assist with the incident and help divert traffic through Diamond Valley.

Both vehicles were inoperable and towed away.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement Sunday night and may not contain the full scope of findings as the investigation was ongoing.

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

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  • Mr. W April 3, 2017 at 8:52 am

    So unfortunate. That intersection is terrible. I would hope that the county will do an interchamge up here eslecially when that new housing project gets started on top the hill.

    • comments April 3, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Sometimes there is an urgency to fix dangerous roads after a death–sometimes that’s actually what it takes (seen it more than once). RIP to the victim.

    • comments April 3, 2017 at 11:15 am

      what I’m saying is it takes a tragic death to get the roads dept to do what they should’ve done in the first place–it often will ‘light a fire’ under the politicians that decide such things. terrible loss here.

      • comments April 3, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        If it’s got a high traffic load there the only long term fix would be an overpass or underpass with exit and merge lanes. Of course they could do a light, but would anyone want a light on that fast of a highway? An underpass or tunnel would be cheaper than an overpass. I’m sure they’ll figure something out.

        • comments April 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm

          They could do a light & slow traffic to 45mph thru that stretch. But is there enough traffic load there to warrant a light–i have no idea. If they’re adding housing developments up there, there should be an abundance of cash floating around to do a proper fix and make it safe.

          • comments April 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm

            One last factor with an intersection like this: you’ll often get people behind you who will try and intimidate you into rushing and making an unsafe left turn–whether honking, revving, pulling up too close, or attempting to go around you as you’re waiting for enough space to enter the highway. Perhaps when that church building lets out this intersection loads up with vehicles to the point of creating a delay, also? If any one organization has power to influence traffic planning in this area and state it’s LDS inc. It’s just too bad they didn’t decide to make this particular area safer years ago, but at this point they’ll probably do something at least…

    • BillyBob_64 April 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      I agree that physical changes could be made that would improve the safety of the intersection. I hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive to the families of those injured or killed last night, but to be honest, the real problem is not so much the intersection as it is the people passing through it on their way out of the valley. I’ve left the valley thousands of times in the 12+ years I’ve lived here and never had so much as a close call. Of course, I’m patient. I come to a complete stop. I make sure I have a solid opening from either direction… but especially from the left. People get in a hurry and good judgement flies out the window.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been following someone out of the valley and observed as they approach the intersection at 30+ mph, glance both ways, then floor it without even slowing down at the stop sign. I’ve had people behind me at the stop sign as I’m waiting for a string of southbound cars to clear, who decide they just can’t wait and go around me on the left and jet out into the highway. I regularly have people behind me leave the intersection as though they’re chained to my bumper, and slingshot around me, both on the right and on the left into oncoming traffic!

      We can blame it on the inanimate intersection all we want, but the intersection isn’t the one making the decisions. It’s the impatient people behind the wheel, who just can’t wait to get to the stop light at the bottom of the hill… where 9 times out of 10, they fall back in right where they started, and get to their destination no faster. What have they gained? Usually nothing, sometimes a few seconds. What do they lose? To start with, they lose the respect of their neighbors. But there is very real potential that the’ll lose everything. What’s worse is that they run the risk of taking everything from the innocent victims that might be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

      So yes, let’s put the grassroots gears in motion and try to get the DOT machine moving on a solution (good luck). Meanwhile, though, why don’t we all just try to be a little more cautious and cognizant, and — above all — a lot more patient.

      • Brian April 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        You’re patient and cautious at that intersection because you’re familiar with it and know the risks. You also have the benefit of experience that can only come with age. I guarantee what you describe isn’t how you would have acted at that intersection when you were 17.

        Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me at all that the person killed wasn’t from DV: she didn’t know the risks. To her it was just another intersection. To us, with knowledge of it’s history and personal experience, it’s a very dangerous intersection to be treated with extreme caution.

        Maybe a big warning sign would make people stop and think, but probably not.

        My condolences to the friends and family. How tragic.

  • wilbur April 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

    As I’ve said before, this intersection is good for half a dozen serious accidents a year.

    And it will get worse with 500 new homes going up in that area.

  • Brian April 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

    She wasn’t from DV and probably didn’t know how treacherous that intersection is.

    We intentionally don’t hold “stake dances” at the DV stake center for fear of all the youth leaving through that intersection. Being from out of the area they won’t know how dangerous it is (and won’t believe us if we warn them). When it’s our turn to host we use a building in town.

    That intersection is bad news. If I can even see a car in either direction I wait.

    In Winchester Hills we have the option of making our kids use The Ledges overpass. My kids know to never use the north Winchester Hills interchange if they’re heading south or they’re grounded. To my knowledge they never have. Unfortunately in DV they don’t have a similar option.

    At a minimum the county should pave through the road north of the sod farm so there is a north DV entrance. It’s on a long straight section of road and would be much safer than the sharp curve by the volcano. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or an overpass to be a safe, viable alternative. Buy some of the land if you have to and solve this problem already!

    • Have3bratz April 3, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      What difference does it make if a person is from DV??? If there is a stop sign you stop!!! No if ands or buts about it!!! It also doesn’t matter if a person that is patient now might not have been at 17!!! Who are you to say that it comes with age??? Maybe just maybe that person has had patients all of his life!!! My daughter is 16 and because I taught her how to drive she stops at stops signs and she looks both ways and she waits if cars are coming because I taught her how to have patients at a younger age!!! I know you or someone will say “But how do you know she isn’t patient when she’s not with you???” Because she knows if she isn’t what could happen and she isn’t in that big of a hurry to get to someplace that’s going to be there even if she is ten mins late… And if she is running late she knows to pull over and pick up that cell phone she has to have and call me or whoever it is and tell them she is going to be late so she doesn’t have to rush!!! Patients doesn’t always come with age!!! And you should know that and teach you own kids now, but people like you are the ones who let their kids drive without proper training in driving and think the school is the one who is suppose to teach them how to drive!!! I thought when I moved here it was the elderly I had to watch out for more than the teens, boy was I wrong!!!

      I hope they do what they have to do to fix that area, but it’s not up to someone to purchase the land to have it done!!! It does not work that way!!! And if it did why would you tell others to purchase it and not your own church go on about??? I would think it would benefit your church more that way in making sure the kids were safer instead of making the DV kids travel the unsafe route you are talking about to get to the functions you say you can’t hold there due to the unsafe route!!! Ummmm JS

      I just got home from a family members funeral myself, and I know what this family is going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them in their time of mourning… Know that she is with our Savior Jesus Christ.

  • comments April 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    “Right now we don’t believe speed was a factor,” Pastor said of the cause of the crash. “We believe it was a failure to yield by the passenger car to the main flow of traffic on SR-18.”

    I’d say speed likely was a factor. It’s difficult to judge a turn onto a highway like this when traffic is likely doing interstate speeds. Plus, you’ve got that nasty bend in the road and the fact it’s night. You’re judging the room you’ve got to enter the highway by headlight distances, which at highway speeds can be extremely difficult. Pure speculation, but the age of the pickup driver, along with the pickup itself, I’m gonna guess he wasn’t driving anywhere close to slow. I don’t know what kind of traffic load this intersection is carrying, but I can see how it can be very hazardous.

    • .... April 4, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Oh wow here we go again folks…the amazing Bob wasn’t even there and yet he knows exactly what happened…amazing absolutely amazing !

    • comments April 4, 2017 at 10:47 am

      That isn’t to say it was the pickup drivers fault so much. It wouldn’t surprise me if the trend (allowed by law enforcement) in that section is to go 75-85mph+. But a lot these big dodge pickups, especially the diesels, I notice are some of the most aggressive drivers on the road; The ones with a ‘lift kit’ and ‘custom rims’ tend to be even worse. Guys like to drive them like they’re driving a sports car–add in a real young inexperienced driver and it’s not a good combo. Whenever I see a big pickup blasting down I-15 at 90mph+, 9 out of 10 times it’s some big redneck looking dodge diesel.

      • comments April 5, 2017 at 9:14 pm

        Just something about this scenario bothers me. Due to the time of day (dispatch sent out emergency vehicles at 8:30 pm, so figure incident occurred minutes before ), the sun down, not yet dark, visibility much lower than daytime, but a lot of people fail to switch on headlights at dusk until visibility is extremely low. Have to wonder if this driver of the pickup had his headlights on. This again is not to lay blame on the other driver, but you just have to wonder. I see many drivers fail to use headlights at times they’re needed creating extremely dangerous situations. A vehicle of this color, at that time of day, with no headlights would be very difficult if not impossible to see coming at you on the highway. We’ll probably never know.

  • comments April 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Final thoughts after being up in this area and having a good look at this intersection yesterday. I don’t think there’s enough traffic load coming out of diamond valley that a traffic light or full redesign of the intersection is needed. Something like interstate style on/off ramps would be a bit overdone at this time I think. There is a suggested speed limit of 50mph around that bend, and i think what needs to happen is a lowered mandatory speed limit of between 40 to 45mph around this bend (it’s a sharp enough bend I’d consider even 60 to 65mph to be quite excessive in reguards to safety), and also heavy enforcement for a time to ‘cement the trend’ of people slowing down for this curve.

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