ST. GEORGE — A rear-end collision between a pickup truck and a semitractor-trailer on northbound Interstate 15 near Littlefield resulted in the driver of the truck being extricated and airlifted to St. George Regional Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
And firefighters said it may be just the start of crashes to come with motorists not slowing down behind work that has just started on the highway bridge over the “Little Jamaica” area.
Firefighters said they were dispatched around 2:25 p.m. MST to the incident. Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire District Battalion Chief Andre Ojeda told St. George News said they had received a report of a black pickup truck with a camper shell on fire and someone trapped inside.
“Once we got on scene, the damage was very intense,” Ojeda said, mentioning that they had to extricate the female driver who was the truck’s sole occupant. “She was trapped on the driver’s side. The steering wheel was right on her lap. She was still conscious and aware of her surroundings but she was banged up pretty bad.”
Ojeda added the woman told him she usually drove with her husband in the passenger seat.
“On the passenger side, if someone was in there, they would have not made it,” he said.
The woman was airlifted by Mercy Air to St. George Regional Hospital.
According to Ojeda, it was determined that the woman’s vehicle rear-ended a semi that had slowed down because of traffic being reduced to one lane due to the reconstruction on Virgin River Bridge No. 1 that began just last week.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge – work that is expected to last through 2024.
As of now, traffic on both sides between Arizona mileposts 8 and 9 of I-15, which includes the Littlefield off-ramps, is reduced to one lane. And Ojeda said the last time there was long-term bridge construction in the area, they were immediately responding to crashes within a week of the start of construction throughout the multiyear period.
And he doesn’t expect this time to be any different with motorists not driving traveling between St. George and Nevada not driving with caution.
“This is just the beginning,” Ojeda said. “We’re on for a long haul with this.”
This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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