SUV veers into median to escape semi, but still gets rammed, rolled

Scene of a rear-end collision involving a semitractor-trailer and a Chevrolet Tahoe on Interstate 15 near mile marker 61, Cedar City, Utah, May 16, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The occupants of an SUV escaped serious injury after the vehicle was struck from behind by a semitractor-trailer as both vehicles approached a construction zone on Interstate 15 in Cedar City Thursday afternoon.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Bambi Baie said the incident involved a dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe with four adult occupants. At approximately 1 p.m., the vehicle was heading southbound on I-15 near mile marker 61, just north of a construction zone where one lane of the interstate is blocked due to a road resurfacing project.

Baie said traffic in the area was light but starting to back up a bit due to the bottleneck caused by the lane reduction.

“The Tahoe came over the hill, where traffic was flowing but starting to slow,” Baie said. “He looked in his mirror and saw a semi truck bearing down at him. So, he went into the median trying to avoid getting hit by the semi truck. But the semi truck followed him into the median and hit him.”

The Tahoe rolled at least once in the median after being struck, causing significant damage to the vehicle. However, no serious injuries were reported, although the Tahoe’s occupants were transported to the hospital for evaluation.

Scene of a rear-end collision involving a semitractor-trailer and a Chevrolet Tahoe on Interstate 15 near mile marker 61, Cedar City, Utah, May 16, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“All of them had very minor injuries and have already been released,” Baie said.

Both vehicles involved were from out of state, with the Tahoe having North Dakota license plates, while the semi and its fully loaded trailer were both bearing South Dakota plates.

The truck driver, who was uninjured, received a citation for following too closely, Baie said.

The Tahoe sustained extensive damage and had to be towed from the scene. Meanwhile, the semi had what appeared to be fairly minor front-end bumper damage.

Baie said motorists should be alert and watch for signs, barriers, UHP vehicles with flashing lights and other traffic control measures designed to warn people of upcoming construction zones and other potential hazardous roadway conditions.

“We had plenty of early warnings. We had construction signs, but they just weren’t paying attention,” Baie said.

Baie later reported that shortly after the incident involving the Tahoe, another three-vehicle collision occurred in the very same spot, with no injuries reported.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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