‘If you’re feeling tired, pull over:’ Drowsy driver hospitalized after rollover crash on SR-7

ST. GEORGE — A man driving alone on state Route 7 (Southern Parkway) sustained serious back injuries and left a crumpled Hyundai Elantra on the side of the highway after rolling his vehicle Monday afternoon.

Police said the driver was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash and gave a statement alleging that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, Hurricane, Utah, June 20, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

Sgt. Matt Noyes with the Utah Highway Patrol said first responders were notified of the crash at around 4:50 p.m., arriving within 15 minutes to see a group of the driver’s family members taking him to the hospital.

The sedan had rolled off the highway near mile marker 19 southeast of Sand Hollow Reservoir. Through statements gathered by police, including from the driver himself, the circumstances leading up to the rollover became clear, Noyes said.

“The driver was coming home from work a little fatigued,” he said. “According to him, he fell asleep, drifted off on the shoulder and the vehicle rolled. He hurt his back, but no other injuries were reported to me.”

Officers with the Hurricane Police Department, firefighters with the Hurricane Valley Fire Department and UDOT Incident Management Team members responded along with state troopers, but there was little fire danger and no need for traffic control so the other agencies were released to respond to other incidents.

A member of the UDOT Incident Management Team speaks with family members of the injured driver at the scene of near Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, June 20, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

While waiting for a tow truck, several family members returned to the scene and cleaned up the trail of debris left by the rolling vehicle.

Noyes said the incident is under investigation and he wasn’t certain if a citation would be issued, adding that the totaled vehicle was probably punishment enough.

Earlier this month, a rollover on SR-7 ejected three teens from a truck and seriously injured all four of the vehicle’s occupants. While it may be more a factor of the season than the location, there are certainly steps that can be taken to avoid similar crashes in the future, Noyes said.

“We’ve had a few drowsy driver incidents lately,” he said. “If you’re feeling tired, pull over. Take a 5-minute nap somewhere safe and then continue on your way. You’d rather be 15-20 minutes late than not get there at all.”

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