UPDATED: Authorities identify 3 individuals killed in head-on collision on SR-18

ST. GEORGE — Authorities have released the names of three people who died in a three-vehicle crash on state Route 18 near the Ledges on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 20 police units and multiple fire trucks, ambulances and responders are dispatched to three-vehicle crash on state Route 18 near mile marker 9, Washington County, Utah, July 1, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

According to a statement released by the Utah Highway Patrol, the three victims were identified as 24-year-old Timothy C. Roberts of Dammeron Valley, who was the driver of a Cadillac SUV. Two people in a Nissan Versa, including the driver, Christine E Ilkenhans, age 72, and her husband, 78-year-old Emmanuel C. Ilkenhans, from Veyo, were also killed when the Cadillac struck their vehicle head-on.

The triple fatal crash was reported shortly after 1:30 p.m. on SR-18 near mile marker 9, just west of the Winchester Hills Fire Station. Initial reports indicated that the occupants in at least two of the vehicles were possibly trapped.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Shawn Judd told St. George News that along with the three occupants who died at the scene, a woman traveling in a silver Ford passenger car was seriously injured and was flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center by helicopter.

More than 20 police units also responded as SR-18 was completely shut down in both directions and traffic was diverted off the highway through the Ledges into Snow Canyon State Park to avoid the large scene.

At the time of the crash, the Cadillac was heading north on SR-18 and veered to the left, crossing the median into oncoming traffic, Judd said. The Cadillac side-swiped the Ford, which went spinning out of control and crashed into the concrete barrier.

After striking the Ford, the Cadillac continued north across the southbound lane where it struck the Nissan head-on, killing all three occupants in both vehicles.

“We don’t know why,” Judd said, “but for some unknown reason (the Cadillac) drifted to the left into oncoming traffic.”

At the original time of publication of this report, the UHP’s accident reconstruction team was still at the scene conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.

The severely damaged vehicles left a debris field that extended for more than 100 yards as responders began clearing the wreckage from the roadway. Traffic was impacted for several hours.

The Utah Highway Patrol, St. George Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance and the Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team responded and tended to the scene.

Updated July 2, 11:42 with identities of those killed in the crash.

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

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