ST. GEORGE — Two drivers were transported to the hospital after a minivan crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a pickup pulling a trailer nearly head-on, police say.
Shortly before 11 a.m., Utah Highway Patrol troopers and emergency personnel were dispatched to state Route 18 near mile marker 16 for a two-vehicle crash involving a silver Kia minivan and a black Dodge pickup truck pulling a flat-bed trailer.
Upon arrival, the 71-year-old driver in the minivan, who was bleeding heavily from a head wound, was found trapped inside the mangled vehicle and had to be extricated. The driver of the pickup truck was also injured and both were transported by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center for treatment, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Jessop said.
The two vehicles were found off the northbound shoulder of SR-18 and were separated by more than 300 yards, while the trailer was located in the brush approximately 150 yards south of the pickup truck. A field of debris was scattered between the two vehicles.
At the time of the crash, the minivan was heading south on SR-16. As it approached mile marker 16, the vehicle veered to the left into oncoming traffic where it struck the rear quarter-panel of the Dodge, ripping the trailer from the truck upon impact, Jessop said.
The impact also tore the rear axle from the pickup, leaving the wheels and tires scattered along the large debris field.
Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Mower said the disabled truck continued north for at least another 100 yards, “which was surprising, considering that part of the axle and both wheels were gone at that point.”
He added the impact left large gouges in the roadway, indicating that the point of impact was clearly on the northbound side of the highway.
The crash could have been worse, as it “was almost a head-on collision,” the trooper said. “But thankfully, it ended up being off-center.”
According to a witness who stopped and spoke to authorities, the minivan heading south “was traveling in the lane just fine,” Mower said, “until it just veered into oncoming traffic for no apparent reason.”
Mower also said the investigation into the crash is ongoing, but a possible medical issue may have contributed to the crash.
“That is a possibility, but it is still early in the investigation,” he added.
Both lanes of travel were closed for around 30 minutes to allow emergency personnel to tend to the injured and clear debris from the highway.
Three tow trucks were dispatched to remove the damaged vehicles and the trailer from the roadway, while troopers were en route to the hospital to followup with the drivers.
The crash remains under investigation at the time of this report.
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