Semi driver experiencing ‘coughing episode’ crashes into embankment near Exit 4

ST. GEORGE — The driver of a semitractor-trailer was sent to the hospital after the truck veered off of Interstate 15 and crashed into an embankment Saturday afternoon.

Semitractor-trailer crashes off of I-15 near the Exit 4 on-ramp after driver loses control of the truck during a coughing attack Saturday, St. George, Utah, Jan. 6, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Officers and emergency responders were dispatched to the single-vehicle crash on northbound Interstate 15 northbound near Exit 4 at 1:45 p.m.

Upon arrival, officers found the semi tilting to the side and smashed into an embankment off the outside shoulder of the on-ramp with the driver still inside of the truck.

EMTs evaluated the driver and learned he suffered from a medical condition. As a safety precaution, the man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center for further evaluation, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Mower said.

The driver told troopers he was heading north on Interstate 15 when he experienced a serious coughing attack just before the semi began to veer to the right, Mower said, and then continued off of the outside shoulder of the roadway.

The coughing episode reportedly prevented the driver from regaining control of the truck as it traveled past an incline before knocking down a steel road sign, crossing two travel lanes of the on-ramp and then crashing into the embankment.

Dirt apparent on the roadway where a semitractor-trailer left the roadway after crossing 2 lanes and crashing through a road sign near Exit 4 Saturday, St. George, Utah, Jan. 6, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The cab of the semi sustained extensive damage when the passenger’s side of the truck struck the steel posts of the road sign, cracking the windshield and fracturing the cab of the truck.

The impact on traffic was minimal, as the semi was out of the road. One lane of the on-ramp was blocked as traffic was redirected around that crash.

A wrecker pulled the semi from the ravine, and it was towed from the roadway.

No citations were issued to the driver.

The Utah Highway Patrol was assisted by the St. George Fire Department, UDOT’s Incident Management Team and Gold Cross Ambulance.

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

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  • xbcmc059 January 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Great job with the aerial footage. This backward state may even transition into the 21st century sometime within the next twenty years.

  • R. January 6, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Coughing fit, the flu is going around. Hope the driver feel better soon.

  • Icomments2 January 7, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Nice to finally see descent comments on here, and not the usual “he was probably distracted with his hand held cellular divice.” And lied about it.
    I hope the driver is ok also and only had a one time coughing fit and not the flu… Yuck!!! I hate it when I cough or sneeze while driving!!!?

  • Caveat_Emptor January 7, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Wow, this could have been very serious for an innocent driver(s) heading north on the on-ramp. We usually assume that a tractor-trailer is under control, and is predictable in its path……..

  • justsaying January 10, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Those were expensive coughs

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