‘Seat belts save lives’: 4Runner lands on its wheels following rollover on I-15

ST. GEORGE — A man traveling southbound near mile marker 23 on Interstate 15 rolled Tuesday morning after noticing at the last minute that a car was in the left lane, according to witnesses’ account.

The 2000 black Toyota 4Runner gets towed following a rollover on southbound Interstate 15 near mile marker 23, Leeds, Utah, June 30, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks told St. George News that just after 10 a.m., a man driving alone in a black 2000 Toyota 4Runner was headed south near mile marker 23 on I-15 in the right lane when he went to make a lane change, but a 2011 white Mitsubishi Galant was in the left lane.

“He wanted to change lanes to the left, and when he did, the witnesses here were actually in the left lane but in his blind spot,” he said. “He realized that at the last second.”

The man didn’t make the lane change and didn’t hit them, he said. He instead swerved back to the right, a little too hard. He then swerved back to the left, and then came back to the right too hard again.

“That’s when he went off the road and started going sideways and rolled the vehicle one time. It landed on its wheels,” Hicks said. “The great news about this story is that he was wearing his seat belt.”

Other than a few minor scrapes and bruises, the man is doing well, Hicks said.

Washington County Sherriff’s department, Utah Highway Patrol, Hurricane Fire Department and Incident Management Team, who arrived first, responded to the scene.

The 2000 black Toyota 4Runner rests in desert brush following the rollover on southbound Interstate 15, Leeds, Utah, June 30, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

“Seat belts save lives, and they certainly saved his,” Hicks said.

Cedar City resident Nathaniel Bowman, 34, was in the passenger of the Galant when the accident occurred. His wife was driving the car, and they were headed to Coral Canyon to switch vehicles with their work truck.

“We were in the fast lane, and we started slowly approaching him, and he begins to move over. I don’t think he notices us at first, and then as he moves over, he notices us, sharp corrected, and then kind of went off to the right and then tried to come into the left and then overcorrected — and that was it,” Bowman said. “We just kind of watched it and immediately called 911.”

They didn’t pull over right away because there were people behind them. They continued onto Coral Canyon, picked up their work truck, and then drove back to the scene, he said.

“At that point, we drove around to make sure everyone was alright,” he said.

The 4Runner was towed, and no citations had been issued.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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