ST. GEORGE — A couple was seriously injured – one critically – and transported to the hospital Saturday evening after the motorcycle both were riding struck a pickup truck at more than 60 mph. According to authorities, a doctor who stopped to help likely saved the critically wounded rider’s life.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, officers and emergency personnel responded to the scene of a two-vehicle crash involving a Ford Ranger pickup truck and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Officials at the scene found two riders lying off the shoulder on the opposite side of the highway, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Grant Hintze said.
At the time of the crash, the Ford was traveling west on state Route 9 heading into Virgin near mile marker 16 when the driver pulled off the right shoulder to allow several motorists to pass.
The driver, who told authorities she was looking for a campsite, noticed there was a wider shoulder on the eastbound side of SR-9. She pulled out to make a U-turn and was struck by the motorcycle, also heading west.
“When the pickup driver pulled out to make the U-turn, the truck was perpendicular with the road when the bike hit the truck going about 55-65 mph,” Hintze said. “So it was pretty much a T-bone.”
Both riders were thrown from the bike and suffered multiple injuries. The woman, who was sitting behind the man, sustained a number of broken ribs and a fractured leg, while the man sustained a significant compound fracture to his leg that was bleeding profusely, along with several other injuries.
“The male rider had a severe, very severe broken leg – so severe in fact that Life Flight was called out,” Hintz said.
A bystander who had witnessed the crash stopped and was helping the man when officials arrived. He had placed a tourniquet around the rider’s leg to slow the heavy bleeding while emergency crews were en route. Hintze said the doctor “very likely saved that man from bleeding to death.”
The helicopter was cancelled when both riders were loaded into a ground ambulance and transported to the hospital.
Hintze said Utah Highway Patrol also contacted a victim advocate that responded to assist the 22-year-old pickup driver who became hysterical at the scene.
“She was very upset,” he said, “and once she realized how serious the situation was she pretty much fell apart.”
Thankfully, Hinze said, both riders were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, resulting in the injuries being confined to their limbs and lower extremities.
Both vehicles were heavily damaged and towed from the scene. The crash is still under investigation, and the findings will be turned over to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.
Both riders remain in the hospital at the writing of this report.
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