Road debris sends cars swerving and 2 crashing on I-15

Two SUV's crash on I-15 southbound near Exit 12 when a tire tread ends up in the inside lane Wednesday evening, Washington City, Utah, July 26, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Road debris that landed in the middle of the fast lane of Interstate 15 had multiple drivers swerving and two SUVs crashing Wednesday evening.

Southbound traffic on I-15 is backed up after two-vehicle crash triggered by road debris Wednesday evening, Washington City, Utah, July 26, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly after 8 p.m. officers and emergency personnel responded to an incident on I-15 southbound near Exit 12 that involved a dark green Chevrolet Traverse SUV and a charcoal Jeep, both carrying several occupants, including small children.

The crash occurred when a passenger car was heading south on I-15 and braked suddenly to avoid hitting a large tire tread sitting in the middle of the inside lane, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Seth Spencer said.

The driver of the Jeep following directly behind the passenger car hit the brakes and was able to stop in time to avoid a collision, while the first car went on its way and was not involved in the incident.

The woman driving the Chevrolet, Rhianna Humphreys, was following directly behind the Jeep and said she hit her brakes but was unable to avoid the crash.

Tire tread that was sitting in middle of the inside lane of I-15 southbound Wednesday evening, Washington City, Utah, July 26, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Humphreys was returning from a trip to the Salt Lake area with her infant son and older child when the crash occurred, and said she didn’t realize the car in front of her came to a stop until it was too late.

“I saw her brake lights on and slowed down, but as I got closer I realized she was stopped and then I slammed on my brakes but couldn’t stop in time,” Humphreys said.

“The Jeep was almost stopped in front of the debris when it was struck by the Chevy,” Spencer said.

Behind the Chevy was a man driving a white passenger car who turned the wheel to the left, which sent the vehicle into the grassy median instead of colliding with the Chevy, one witness said.

Spencer said no injuries were reported at the scene.

Humphreys, however, said she and her children would be taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George by her husband as a precaution.

Both vehicles were rendered inoperable in the crash and were subsequently towed from the scene.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, 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!


  • Foxyheart July 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    The car broke? As in two? I think she applied the brakes and therefore braked (even though it sounds wrong it is right). Maybe it should have just said ‘applied the brakes’….or even ‘hit the brakes’……

    • Foxyheart July 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Thank you for changing it……

  • Caveat_Emptor July 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    We learn in driving school to assess the risk of running over an object, instead of swerving to avoid it.
    The simplistic example is a small animal running into the path of a vehicle. The recommendation is always accept the hit instead of swerving to miss it and possibly cause a head-on collision.
    Not exactly sure of the circumstances here, but it might be helpful to hear what the UHP officers would have recommended, beyond not following the car in front of you so closely.
    If you drive up and down I-15 at any frequency, you come across these separated treads frequently. You might see UHP officers stopping along the highway shoulder and running out into the traffic lanes to remove these obstacles, at great personal risk.

  • utahdiablo July 27, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Yep, run it the hell over….and continue to speed on and look back down on your phone….hey Udot, let’s raise the speed limit up to 85, why not?….Hey, we gotta move this commerce faster….none of this crap will end until there is a horrific accident with many many getting killed at the same time, then things will get real, real fast…….no need to make a call or text while driving, your not that important to risk me and my family’s lives….and moving commerce as the excuse to continue to raise the state speed limit to 80 Udot? Who the hell drives the posted limit?…… Slow down people

    • comments July 28, 2017 at 9:21 am

      I agree, the 80mph limit is a bit much. I’ve taken notice and vehicles can usually go about 93mph before UHP will consider writing a speeding ticket. So the actual unwritten speed limit truly is about 90mph. I was so irritated with my last trip up there i’m gonna make it a point to avoid holiday weekends w/ using I-15, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.