SUV launches into building in St. George after driver hits gas instead of brakes

ST. GEORGE — A man drove into the side of a building in St. George after he mistook the gas pedal for the brakes Friday morning.

A Buick SUV is lodged into the side of a building after its driver mistook the gas for the brake pedal on 1470 East, St. George, Utah, July 5, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Shortly before noon, officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to the single-vehicle incident involving a white Buick SUV that crashed into the exterior wall of an office building under construction on 1470 East.

Responders arrived to find the SUV wedged between the building and an adjacent walkway several feet below the parking lot.

The driver was found nearby after climbing out the window of the SUV immediately after the crash, St. George Police officer Joe Deim said, adding that the man reported no injuries.

The driver told officers he was parked and thought he put the SUV in reverse to pull out of a parking space.

“Evidence indicates the car was actually in drive,” Deim said.

The driver told St. George News he was visiting the area with his family from Southern California and said he “thought he was going to die” as the incident unfolded.

A Buick SUV can be seen from the window of a building after it crashed into side of the building on 1470 East, St. George, Utah, July 5, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

He said the car was a rental and they were working with the rental company for insurance purposes and to arrange for another vehicle.

At the time of the crash, a construction worker inside the building said he “heard a loud scraping noise followed by the sound of a pile of pallets crashing down.”

The finisher said he was standing on a ladder next to a window less than a foot from where the car would ultimately come to rest on the other side of the wall, but he had stepped off the ladder and was walking toward the south side of the structure seconds before the incident occurred.

A tow truck responded but was unable to pull the SUV out from where it became wedged against the building, so a heavy wrecker with a crane was called in to lift the vehicle out before it was towed from the parking lot.

There was visible damage to the side of the building as well as the rock wall between the parking lot and the structure.

Deim said no citations were issued, as the incident took place on private property.

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


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