Woman charged with felony DUI following head-on crash on Sand Hollow that injures both drivers

A crash on Sand Hollow Road destroys two vehicles and injures both drivers, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Hurricane Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A woman was arrested for felony DUI following a head-on crash on Sand Hollow Road that destroyed two vehicles and resulted in both drivers being taken to the hospital, one with multiple fractures.

A crash on Sand Hollow Road destroys two vehicles and injures both drivers, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of the Hurricane Police Department, St. George News

The arrest stems from an incident reported Jan. 7. Hurricane Police Officer Dan Raddatz told St. George News a head-on crash was reported shortly before 11 p.m. and involved a white 2018 Kia Sportage SUV and a 1998 Cadillac Eldorado. The 53-year-old driver in the Cadillac was unconscious according to initial reports.

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, responding officers found both vehicles blocking the northbound lane of travel, with the driver in the Cadillac still on the phone with 911. He was then transported to St. George Regional Hospital with a broken foot and a fracture to his wrist, as well as other injuries.

While speaking with the driver in the Kia, later identified as 32-year-old Raelene Sabrina Almazan, officers detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the woman, who was on the phone when officers arrived. She then handed them her phone, saying she had called the person whose house she had just left minutes before the crash, the report states.

The suspect’s friend spoke to officers and during the call said that Almazan had drunk a margarita while at his house. Police also learned the suspect may have taken some pills as well, according to the report, and was on her way home when the crash took place.

While walking from her car to the ambulance, officers also noticed the suspect appeared to have “very poor balance” an unsteady gait and she had to be assisted. She was also transported to the hospital for evaluation and later was admitted to the hospital. While there, the suspect initially refused to submit to a blood draw to determine her blood alcohol content, according to the report, but later she consented once officers read the stipulations associated with a refusal.

At the scene, officers determined from the position of the vehicles the Kia was heading south on Sand Hollow Road when the driver crossed over the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic and struck the Cadillac as it headed north, the report states.

Through the course of the investigation, officers contacted the suspect’s insurance company and learned the policy had lapsed approximately one week before the crash, so there was no active insurance policy in effect at the time of the incident.

The car was then searched prior to impound, which is when officers found a handgun lying on the passenger seat of the vehicle that was within reach of the suspect, and according to the report, the gun also had a loaded magazine.

Police say the suspect said more than once that she should not have been driving and that she should have stayed at her friend’s house instead.

On Thursday, officers checked to see if the suspect was still in the hospital, and when they learned Almazan had been discharged, they went to her home and placed her under arrest. The suspect was subsequently transported to jail in Washington County.

On Friday, the suspect was formally charged with one third-degree felony count of DUI  with serious bodily injury, as well driving without insurance and carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol-drugs.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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