ST. GEORGE — Utah Highway Patrol responded to a fatal accident Sunday on state Road 89 in Kane County near Orderville.
According to UHP Corporal Colton Freckleton, three vehicles were traveling south at around 3:35 p.m. on SR-89 when the incident occurred: a passenger car, a U-Haul moving van and a white Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck.
The Chevrolet pickup moved into the left lane of a passing zone to pass the U-Haul and passenger car in front of it; however, as the truck began to make the pass, the U-Haul also moved into the left lane to get around the passenger car, forcing the truck off the road and into the embankment, where it lost control and rolled several times.
There were five occupants in the Chevrolet truck, but only the front two were properly restrained. As the truck rolled, the three rear passengers were ejected from the cab of the vehicle, and 20-year-old Kanab resident Charlee Noteman died at the scene.
The other two rear passengers were transported to the hospital via Intermountain Life Flight and are still in critical condition at the time of publishing. The two front passengers refused medical care.
“It’s our impression that if the back passengers had been wearing their seat belts, their injuries would have been less severe or unlikely to be fatal at the crash scene,” Freckleton said.
The U-Haul did not stop at the scene of the accident, but according to a press release by the Utah Department of Public Safety, it is possible the driver “may not have realized their movement forced the pickup off the road.”
The driver of the U-Haul has since been found and is currently under investigation.
Freckleton said it is his impression that the U-Haul driver failed to check his blind spots before changing lanes, adding that roadway departures or drivers failing to maintain their lane have caused the most amount of fatalities this year. The best way for drivers to help prevent these fatal accidents is to check their blind spots frequently and avoid passing more than one vehicle at a time.
But Freckleton said the most important thing for anyone in a car to remember is to wear their seat belts.
“All occupants in every vehicle should be wearing their seat belts, accordingly.”
This report is based on statements from police and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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