ST. GEORGE — Two rollovers less than an hour apart in the Virgin River Gorge near Littlefield, Arizona, kept emergency personnel busy as two occupants were flown to the hospital after one was found trapped under a vehicle early Thursday morning.
The first rollover was reported shortly after midnight MST, involving a GMC Envoy that was traveling north on Interstate 15 near Littlefield when the driver “was possibly attempting to pass a commercial vehicle” in the construction zone near mile marker 12 and realized too late that he ran out of room, Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Jenkins said.
The driver lost control of the SUV when he overcorrected, sending the vehicle off the soft shoulder where it rolled.
The driver was no longer at the scene when the trooper arrived, but a medical crew caught up with the man at a nearby gas station. The man had a laceration to his nose, but sustained no serious injuries in the crash, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Battalion Chief Andre Ojeda said.
The SUV was heavily damaged and subsequently towed from the scene, and the driver will likely be cited for the incident, Jenkins said.
Just as crews were cleared from the first rollover, a second rollover was reported on northbound I-15 near mile marker 5 just after 1:30 a.m. involving a blue pickup truck that went off the right shoulder and rolled until it came to rest on in an upside-down position several feet from the roadway.
The driver was able to self-extricate, Jenkins said, but the woman’s arm was trapped under the vehicle until firefighters, using extrication equipment, cut away the metal and freed the woman’s arm before she was removed from the pickup truck.
Both occupants were ground transported to the Beaver Dam Littlefield Fire Station where two helicopters were set to land.
Mercy Air landed first and transported the woman, who’s injuries were more critical than the driver’s, Ojeda said, to Dixie Regional Medical Center, while Intermountain Life Flight followed close behind with the driver on board. Both were in critical condition at the time of transport.
Troopers determined that the crash was set in motion when the rear left tire blew out on the interstate, which caused the driver to lose control of the pickup that veered to the right and went off the shoulder where it rolled. The pickup was destroyed in the crash and later towed from the scene.
No citations will be issued, Jenkins said.
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