CEDAR CITY — A rear-end collision Wednesday afternoon on state Route 14 in Cedar Canyon happened after one of the drivers stopped in the roadway to talk to a group of people, police said.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Nielson told Cedar City News that the incident, which happened shortly after noon near Woods Ranch, involved a Jeep Cherokee and an Oldsmobile Alero sedan.
Nielson said the driver of the Jeep, who had been heading west down the canyon, slowed or stopped in the roadway to talk to a family that was playing in the snow by the SUU cabin and tell them about Woods Ranch.
The driver of the Oldsmobile, also coming down the canyon, did not initially notice the Jeep was stopped ahead of him on the road, Nielson added.
“When he did, he hit the brakes and swerved but went under the back left side of the Jeep,” he said, adding that the impact broke the Jeep’s axle and sent it spinning 180 degrees. The Jeep rolled once off the embankment before coming to rest on its wheels.
Meanwhile, the Oldsmobile, which sustained heavy front-end damage, came to a stop along the opposite side of the road. Its engine also momentarily caught fire, but the driver was able to put out the flames with an extinguisher that was in his trunk, Nielson said.
Despite the significant damage to both vehicles, neither driver reported any injuries other than minor bruising from seat belts and steering wheels. The driver of the Jeep had his 20-month-old daughter properly restrained in a child safety seat in the rear passenger seat and was unharmed, Nielson said.
The Jeep driver was issued a citation for stopping on the roadway, in addition to receiving warnings for illegal vehicle modifications.
Nielson said in his opinion, the Jeep’s modifications, which included a lift kit, large tires and modified bumper, contributed to the severity of the crash.
“If it had been a stock Cherokee or had the bumper even met the legal requirement according to the vehicle safety code, it is possible that the passenger car may not have gotten underneath the Jeep and effectively acted like a moving ramp or wedge, lifting the Jeep into the air and creating a rolling moment,” he said. “Instead, it may have just pushed it down the road. Had that been the case, it is also likely that the rear bumper area of the Jeep would not have impacted the windshield area.”
This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.