ST. GEORGE — A rollover of a utility task vehicle that went over the edge of a steep sand dune left four people injured, one seriously enough to have to be airlifted, on Sand Mountain in Sand Hollow State Park just after noon Wednesday.
Park manager Jonathan Hunt told St. George News that four people were loaded up in a side-by-side UTV and headed up to the top of the sand dunes on Sand Mountain. But the four – consisting of one male and three females – were reportedly unaware that when they crossed the top of the dune, there was only one direction – down.
“They went over a sand dune and it was a steep drop on the backside,” Hunt said. “The machine hit pretty hard.”
Hunt said all four were wearing helmets and seat belts. A female took the worst of the injuries, suffering severe hits to her head, neck and back. While non-life-threatening, Hunt said the injured woman needed to be transported by Intermountain Life Flight to St. George Regional Hospital.
“She was stable, but I would say they were serious injuries,” Hunt said.
Two others suffered injuries Hunt described as not necessarily severe but bad enough that they needed to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. The fourth passenger was also hurt but able to be treated at the scene.
Not helping matters for those in the UTV were high winds in the area over the last 24 hours that blew away the tracks of other vehicles that traversed the mountain, leaving no clues on which paths were the right ones to take.
“Usually, you can see the paths and learn from other people’s mistakes,” Hunt said, though he added that probably wasn’t the main reason for the incident.
“I’m not going to blame it on the wind,” Hunt said. “It was an inexperienced driver that couldn’t see the sand dune dropping off and went over the edge too quick.”
This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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