ST. GEORGE — Six people were transported to the hospital on Tuesday, two by air, following a head-on collision on U.S. Route 89 in Kane County that left two vehicles fully engulfed in fire.
On Tuesday, Utah Highway Patrol troopers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 89 near mile marker 101, approximately 20 miles north of Mount Carmel Junction in Kane County shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to information provided to St. George News from UHP Lt. Nick Street. Responders arrived to find two vehicles, a 2020 Lexus passenger car and a 2021 Toyota Highlander, fully involved in fire.
All six occupants, four adults and two juveniles, “were able to exit the vehicles before they became engulfed in flames,” Street said.
Firefighters arrived and were able to extinguish both fires within minutes as emergency medical personnel tended to the injured. Two medical transport helicopters were also launched due to the severity of the crash. There were four occupants in the Highlander, including a 38-year old passenger who was flown to St. George Regional Hospital in critical condition, while the 40-year old driver and the two adolescents, ages 7 and 12, were ground transported to area hospitals in serious condition, as well as the 73-year old driver in the Lexus.
The passenger in the Lexus, also 73, was flown to St. George Region Hospital in critical condition.
One of the individuals transported by ground to Garfield Memorial Hospital was later flown to the hospital in St. George, Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins told St. George News.
Two video clips provided by Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District are included in the video shown at the top of this report, as well as an audio recording of the medical flight crew captured during one of the air transports.
At the time of the crash, the Lexus was heading south on U.S. Route 89 when it crossed over the median into oncoming traffic where the Highlander was heading north.
Police say the driver of the SUV said he saw the Lexus cross over into his lane of travel and attempted to avoid a crash by veering to the left and crossing over the median into the southbound lane.
At the same time, according to the report, the driver of the Lexus said they also took corrective measures to avoid an impact by pulling to the right into the southbound lane where both vehicles collided head-on.
Both vehicles came to rest in an upright position facing west and blocking the southbound lane of travel, according to investigator’s preliminary findings.
After the collision, both vehicles caught fire and became fully engulfed within minutes of the impact.
U.S. 89 was closed in both directions following the crash and remained blocked for nearly two hours to allow responders to tend to the scene and for troopers to conduct a crash investigation.
Street said all occupants were properly restrained at the time of the crash and there was no evidence of impairment for either driver.
According to the Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District, they landed two helicopters to fly both critical patients to area hospitals and transported four more – including two pediatric transports, an effort that was made possible by Mercy Air Medical Transport Intermountain Life Flight. In addition to Utah Highway Patrol and Kane County Sheriff’s Office deputies, multiple ambulances sent from Kanab, Cedar Mountain and Garfield responded to the scene.
Three engines from Cedar Mountain Fire District also responded as well as the Kane County Fire Department from Kanab.
This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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