After avoiding collision with car, SUV rolls on I-15

Ford Escape rests overturned off Interstate 15 near mile marker 36 after a rollover, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 19, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Two drivers avoided a collision while attempting to merge into the same lane on Interstate 15 Sunday afternoon, but only one vehicle made it out of the situation unscathed.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Utah Highway Patrol troopers responded to a single-vehicle rollover involving a white Ford Escape that came to rest upside down on a steep embankment, a few feet from the inside shoulder of northbound I-15 near milepost 36 just south of the Black Ridge Exit.

Area of Interstate 15 near mile marker 36 where a Ford Escape rolled into the side of an embankment, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 19, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Upon arrival, troopers found the overturned Ford with the driver outside waiting for help after getting out of the vehicle on her own.

The driver told responders she was not injured, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Grant Hintze said.

“She didn’t have a scratch on her, which says a lot for seat belts and that Escape – it did what it was designed to do,” Hintze said.

The 68-year-old woman was traveling through Utah from New Mexico when the crash occurred.

While the incident was reported as a single-vehicle crash, Hintze said, multiple witnesses that returned to the scene to provide statements indicated that the crash occured when two vehicles attempted to merge into the same lane.

Seconds before the crash, a Nissan Maxima was headed north in the inside lane, while the Ford was in the outside lane traveling in the same direction.

Witnesses told troopers that both vehicles began to merge into the center lane, Hintze said, and once they saw each other, the driver of the Nissan was able to return to the inside lane safely and without incident.

Meanwhile, the Ford driver returned to the outside lane but overcorrected and tried to avoid hitting a concrete barrier by pulling the wheel sharply to the left, which sent the SUV careening across all three lanes of the interstate and off the road.

Once the Ford left the roadway, it rolled onto its side before completing one more rotation, coming to rest upside down.

Ford Escape rests overturned off Interstate 15 near mile marker 36 after a rollover, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 19, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“There were no huge cracks in the ground or debris,” Hintze said, “so it looks like the Ford did a half-roll and then landed on its roof.”

One of the witnesses was able to get the license plate number of the Nissan that continued north without stopping, and troopers in Iron County stopped the car. The driver spoke to officers and provided her insurance information.

It did not appear that the Nissan driver was aware that the SUV rolled, Hintze said, or that she contributed to the crash.

“She was likely shaken after nearly colliding with the Ford,” he said, “so it’s hard to say if she saw the crash behind her, or that she realized what had actually occurred.”

Hintze added that no citations have been issued at this point and likely won’t be due to the fact that it was two vehicles attempting to merge into an open lane and both successfully avoided hitting each other.

“Unfortunately, the loss of control sent the Ford into a rollover, but the driver was just happy that she made it out uninjured, which is the most important thing.”

The crash serves as another reminder of the importance of seat belt use, Hintze said.

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



Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Carpe Diem August 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    WHOOOO EEeeeeee look out folks.

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