Driver cited in River Road crash that sends 1 to hospital, jams traffic

Chaotic scene follows after after a two-vehicle collision is reported at the River Road and East Riverside Drive intersection, St. George, Utah, Dec. 21, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A driver who failed to yield on a left turn brought traffic to a halt as emergency personnel responded to a busy intersection and chaotic scene during heavy afternoon traffic Friday.

At 3:45 p.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of River Road and East Riverside Drive involving a white Buick passenger car and a silver Chrysler minivan, St. George Police officer Ken Childs said.

A Buick and a minivan sit against the curb after colliding at the intersection of River Road and East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah, Dec. 21, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Emergency medical personnel found that the driver of the minivan suffered a laceration to his arm that likely occurred when the airbags deployed. The man’s wife was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by ambulance for evaluation and treatment injuries that were not life threatening.

Officers found the Buick smashed into the rear of the minivan. Both vehicles had come to rest against the curb on the southbound side of River Road, partially blocking both southbound lanes on River Road initially, as well as the eastbound lane of Riverside Drive.

As fire crews began clearing debris and removing vehicle fluids from the roadway, additional officers arrived and began directing traffic around the crash, as the backup on southbound on River Road extended nearly to Foremaster Drive.

Officers learned that the Buick was heading  north on River Road and the driver entered the intersection directly behind another vehicle as both waited to make a left turn onto Riverside Drive heading west.

The minivan was heading south on River Road in the inside lane of travel and “narrowly missed the first vehicle” that had turned left but struck the Chrysler as it crossed in front of it.

The view of River Road facing north where traffic is backed up after a two-vehicle collision at the River Road and East Riverside Drive intersection, St. George, Utah, Dec. 21, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“The light was yellow and that first vehicle came very close to being before it made it through, but the second wasn’t able to clear the intersection,” Childs said.

The collision spun both vehicles around and sent the Chrysler crashing  into the rear driver’s side panel of the minivan in a “secondary collision,” he said, before both came to rest against the curb.

Both vehicles were extensively damaged and subsequently towed from the intersection.

The Buick driver was later cited for failing to yield on a left turn.

Childs added that traffic is typically heavier during the holidays, particularly with Christmas inching ever closer and recommended that drivers prepare for delays and to slow down, which will reduce the risk of being involved in a crash.

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

Editor’s note: The Chrysler driver was listed as the one cited by error, which has been corrected to reflect that the Buick driver was the one cited for making the illegal left-hand turn.


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  • LocalTourist December 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Being in a hurry got you….where?

    If it was me, I would’ve waited until the lights turned red, and then made my left turn to clear the intersection.

    • Comment December 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      So many people run reds around here so blatantly that you often have to wait for a red light+. Cross-traffic may even start to honk at you because all the red runners have you stranded in the intersection. Utard driving habits at their best.

  • utahdiablo December 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Knucklehead…Udot and the City are to blame for not having dedicated Green arrows on these left turn lanes, you wait for the green and only get a flashing yellow arrow which only at best lets one car or truck through each light cycle….get off you … and change the left turn arrow system here in southern Utah Udot and City planning
    Ed. ellipsis

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