ST. GEORGE — Two men were extricated and transported following a rollover on Interstate 15 Tuesday evening, thanks to a number of motorists who stopped to assist after witnessing the violent crash.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m., a battery of emergency responders were dispatched to a crash on southbound I-15 near mile marker 17. The incident involved a gray Dodge Dakota and a gold GMC Envoy pulling a 14-foot trailer hauling metal.
At the time of the crash, the Dodge was heading south behind the GMC in the outside lane when the pickup struck the back of the trailer, causing it to jackknife. The impact sent the GMC into a rollover, while the Dodge veered to the right and came to rest on the shoulder.
The GMC rolled at least 1 1/2 times before coming to rest upside-down near the left shoulder of the interstate.
The man driving the Dodge told police he “was unable to see the truck, or at least the trailer being towed behind it, due to the glare of the sun in his eyes,” Adams said.
The left lane was blocked by numerous emergency vehicles and tow trucks, while traffic was diverted into the right lane.
The 53-year-old driver was able to climb out of his SUV with the help of several motorists who pulled over to assist after witnessing the crash. The man was transported to the hospital by ambulance to be treated for a fractured collarbone, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Adams said.
“We must have had 10-20 bystanders out there in the left-lane when we arrived,” Adams said. “They stopped and got out of their vehicles to help.”
Meanwhile, the passenger of the GMC remained trapped until emergency personnel arrived and extricated him from the mangled vehicle and transported him to Dixie Regional Medical Center in stable condition. The man suffered a minor laceration to his head.
The 54-year-old driver of the Dodge suffered an injury to his chest when the airbags deployed, as well as a small laceration to his head. He was checked by paramedics at the scene but declined transportation to the hospital.
Adams said all occupants were properly restrained at the time of crash, and taking into account the severity of the rollover and the extent of the damage, “it’s safe to say the lack of any serious injuries is directly related to seat-belt use,” he said.
“Especially in these rollover crashes,” he added. “We find injuries that are so severe — or worse — when occupants aren’t bucked up.”
The driver of the Dodge was subsequently cited for a number of violations, including following too close and having no insurance or valid registration on the vehicle.
Adams said there are ramifications the come when a driver is not insured, as was the case in Tuesday’s crash.
“The insurance is a big one,” Adams said. “Because the people in the truck who just got hit were hit by an uninsured driver.”
The Utah Highway Patrol, Hurricane Valley Fire District, Washington City Fire Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington City Police Department, the Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene.
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