2 injured in rollover in the Gorge following camping trip

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Two people from Las Vegas returning from a camping trip in Zion National Park were transported to the hospital after their SUV rolled coming out of a turn on Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge Friday morning.

Numerous responders including the St. George Fire Department out of Utah arrive and assist when a Durango rolls, injuring two, off Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge Friday morning. Mohave County, Arizona, May 5, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

At 9 a.m. officers and emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle rollover on southbound Interstate 15 just south of Arizona mile marker 28. The vehicle involved was a black Dodge Durango that went off the right shoulder of the road, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said.

Upon arrival, troopers found the SUV severely damaged and sitting upright several feet from the roadway. A 21-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were nearby, injured in the crash and waiting for help.

The two were transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, where they will be examined and treated for their injuries. The woman sustained multiple cuts and abrasions as well as minor injuries from the seat belt, Bottoms said, while the driver suffered more serious injuries.

Authorities determined that the driver veered to the right during a curve in the roadway and once the car left the asphalt the driver lost control and the vehicle started to roll. It came to rest off of an embankment just out of the turn.

Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire and Ambulance transports two patients after rollover on Interstate 15 southbound near mile marker 28 in the Virgin River Gorge Friday morning,
Mohave County, Arizona, May 5, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Once the Durango stopped rolling the two were able to climb out of the vehicle on their own.

“We don’t know at this point why he left the road and lost control of his car without interviewing the driver,” Bottoms said, “which will happen once I’m able to speak to him at the hospital.”

At the hospital a short time later the driver told officers that he didn’t really know what happened, and was unable to recall if he fell asleep or just drifted off the road and overcorrected, Bottoms said.

Numerous emergency personnel were on scene, including off-duty Arizona Department of Transportation Supervisor Meynardo Moreno, who said he was heading north to have breakfast with a friend at the Black Bear Diner in St. George, Utah, when he received request for assistance.

“They needed help so I’m here,” Moreno said, “and then I’ll go and have breakfast.”

The driver and his passenger were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

“Both were properly restrained,” Bottoms said, “which could have saved their lives as you can look at the photos of the vehicle and see how well the cabin remained intact, and protected them from being thrown out.”

The Durango was extensively damaged in the crash and later towed from the scene.

The Arizona Highway Patrol division of Arizona DPS, ADOT, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire and Ambulance responded to the scene and the St. George Fire Department out of Utah responded providing mutual aid.

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

Updated 3:06 p.m. with additional information from Bottoms after the driver was interviewed at the hospital.

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

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  • desertgirl May 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I hate driving through the gorge; it seems the last couple of years the accident and fatality rates have gone up.

  • old school May 5, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Sounds like another cellphone related mishap

    • dianauribe89032 May 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      actually it wasnt, i was the 18 year old passenger and his car lost traction. thank you very much 🙂

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