ST. GEORGE — One person sustained a head injury in downtown St. George Monday evening after a driver hit a parked car while police say he was distracted by his cellphone.
St. George Police responded to the crash at 7:19 p.m. involving a white passenger car with four occupants hitting an unoccupied black passenger car parked on the east side of 200 East in front of a home at approximately 250 South.
“He (the driver of the white car) rounded the corner here on 300 South and started going north on 200 East,” St. George Police officer Jace Hutchings told St. George News at the scene. “As he rounds the corner, he looks down at his phone intending to send a text message to his friend.”
The phone was passcode locked at the time, requiring the driver to type in the code, Hutchings said, at which point he took his eyes off the road.
“At that time, he drifts off the roadway and smashes into the parked car,” Hutchings said, describing the moment of collision.
The front seat passenger’s head hit the windshield, causing the glass to shatter in a circular shape at the point of impact.
The passenger was reportedly bleeding and was checked out by responding medical personnel from St. George Fire Department at the scene. He did not require transport to the hospital, and Hutchings said there were no visible injuries on the driver and the two backseat passengers.
“He will receive citation for texting while driving, distracted driving and unsafe lane travel,” Hutchings said of the driver.
Both cars sustained heavy damage and had to be towed away. Emergency personnel from St. George Fire Department helped clean up fluids that leaked from the white car onto the asphalt and into the gutter.
Hutchings said the crash is a good reminder of the risks associated with using handheld devices while driving.
“The driver put it best. He said, ‘I should have pulled over to figure if I’ve got to make a phone call or text message,’” Hutchings said.
“I would suggest that everybody educate themselves on the handheld communication device laws in Utah,” Hutchings said. “A lot of people think it’s just texting but it also falls under placing a phone call.
“People don’t realize how significant it is – we’ve got kids crossing the road, parked cars – and you’re drifting. It’s a lot more dangerous than I think people realize.”
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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