Winter storm wreaks havoc on Southern Utah highways, leading to multiple crashes, rollovers

Stock image | Photo by Barbol88/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — Utah Highway Patrol troopers were kept busy with several crashes, slide-offs and rollovers reported on Interstate 15 and other roads in Southern Utah after a winter storm delivered rain, ice and snow to much of the state Sunday evening.

Toyota pickup truck rests upside-down after a rollover on Interstate 15 near mile marker 36 in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 17, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

The mayhem on the interstate began with a single-vehicle rollover that was reported at 6:30 p.m. on northbound I-15 at about mile marker 36 involving a Toyota pickup truck with two teenage occupants that sustained minor injuries, primarily scrapes and cuts to the head area, UHP trooper Mike Murphy said.

At the time of the crash, the driver hit a patch of ice and lost control of the Toyota. The truck went sliding off to the right and rolled as it crossed over the shoulder and came to rest upside down.

As responders were tending to the first crash, a second crash occurred involving two vehicles that collided near the scene of the rollover, Murphy said. Traffic approaching the scene was slowing down when one of the cars was struck from behind after the driver of the other vehicle hit the brakes too late and was unable to slow down in time to avoid the collision.

No serious injuries were reported in the second crash, Murphy said.

Meanwhile, the driver of a Chevrolet Cobalt also heading north lost control of the car as it slid on the icy roadway and then rolled near the median.

The fourth crash involved a full-size Chevrolet pickup truck that slid off the interstate in Iron County, which Murphy said resulted in no serious injuries.

Murphy explained that one common denominator connected all four crashes: All of the drivers were going too fast for conditions.

“Road conditions were horrible,” he said. “I mean, they were slick and icy, but drivers need to just slow down out here.”

More slide-offs and rollovers on Old Highway 91

Traffic from I-15 near mile marker 23 in Arizona was diverted to Old Highway 91 after a jackknifed semitractor-trailer blocked all northbound traffic in the Virgin River Gorge for hours.

As drivers made their way up Old Highway 91 into Utah, there were multiple slide-offs and rollovers reported.

“It’s a mess out there on Highway 91,” Murphy said, adding that Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to multiple incidents made worse by the icy road conditions.

A snow plow arrived shortly after 10 p.m. to clear the snow from the roadway, finally making way for first responders to tend to the scenes.

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

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