UPDATED: Police identify driver killed when car struck horse on I-15

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An Ivins woman was killed when her vehicle struck a horse that was running on Interstate 15 near Leeds early Thursday morning.

Updated: Jessica Deane, 30, has been identified as the person killed in the early morning crash on I-15 near Leeds, according to a statement released by the Utah Department of Public Safety. Deane was a student attending Rocky Vista University Medical School in Ivins and was originally from New Jersey.

At 1:30 a.m. troopers were dispatched to northbound I-15 near Leeds on reports there were horses running on the interstate, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said.

As troopers were making their way to the area, another call was received by emergency dispatch reporting a single-vehicle crash just before mile marker 22, also on northbound I-15.

“We had troopers heading there on the animal report, but before they could get there the crash was reported,” Hicks said.

Troopers arrived to find a black 2013 Hyundai Velostar severely damaged near the median with the driver still inside. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The horse was also killed and was found near the vehicle.

Hicks said that just before the crash, the Hyundai struck a black horse that was either standing or walking in the left lane of the interstate. The car appeared to have continued north for another half a mile before veering to the left where it was stopped by the cable barrier.

The left lane of the interstate was closed for approximately two hours while the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team responded to assist with traffic control and tend to the scene.

UHP Public Information Officer Sgt. Nick Street said in a statement released Thursday morning that the driver was alone and that it appeared she was killed on impact.

Hicks told St. George News the driver was properly restrained at the time of the crash.

Even so, he added, the nature of the collision and the fact that it involved such a large animal “just wasn’t survivable.”

The driver was from the East Coast, Hicks said, so the agency is working with authorities there to make the family notifications.

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

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