VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — A driver was transported to the hospital after his vehicle crashed into a rock wall and rolled on southbound Interstate 15 Monday morning — a violent crash witnessed by another motorist who stopped to render aid.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. MST, officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover reported near mile marker 22, about four miles south of the Utah/Arizona border in Mohave County.
Responders arrived to find a white Ford Edge with heavy damage on the right shoulder sitting upright and an injured driver waiting for responders nearby.
The man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center with multiple injuries, Sgt. John Bottoms said, including lacerations, bruises and a possible fractured collarbone.
“He is completely disoriented and has no recollection of the crash,” Bottoms said. “So we have to piece together what happened out here.”
At the time of the crash, the driver was heading south at about 65 mph and “for some unknown reason,” drifted to the right and slammed into a rocky bluff located just to the right of the interstate.
“The driver appeared to have just drifted to the right for a second before the SUV crashed right into the large rock wall,” Bottoms said.
The driver of a pickup truck traveling just ahead of the Ford told troopers the vehicle went straight into the rock wall, was launched into the air, “and then it rotated in the air a few times and continued forward for several feet, completely airborne,” before it crashed to the ground and rolled.
The driver of the pickup pulled off the interstate and called 911 before running to check on the man, who he was surprised to see crawling out of the vehicle on his own. The witness also told troopers the driver was very shaken and disoriented, Bottoms said, so he took him to his truck where he could keep warm until help arrived.
The St. George Fire Department arrived on scene and assessed the driver’s injuries until an ambulance arrived.
The driver was properly restrained and all four airbags deployed in the car upon impact, which likely saved the driver from being more seriously injured.
The car was destroyed in the crash and was subsequently towed from the scene.
No citations have been issued at this point, Bottoms said. The investigation into the cause, which may be related to a medical issue that prevented the driver from keeping his vehicle on the road or applying the brakes before impact, is ongoing.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire District and the St. George Fire Department responded and tended to the scene.
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