SOUTHERN UTAH – St. George News is taking a look back at the most popular stories of 2013. From record-setting snowfall to a countywide criminal manhunt, here is the news that captivated our readers.
We thank our STGnews friends for their support and look forward to another amazing year!
Record snowfall triggered an emergency closure of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge on Dec. 7, trapping hundreds of travelers in their cars overnight.
On Dec. 12, a rockslide crashed into a neighborhood in Rockville, demolishing one home and killing its occupants, Jeff Elsey and Maureen Morris.
In August, a group rappelling down Behunin Canyon in Zion National Park was surprised by a massive flash flood and narrowly escaped with their lives. The entire terrifying ordeal was caught on video.
A portion of Highway 89 on the Arizona Strip was closed in February when 150 feet of pavement crumbled due to a sudden landslide.
During construction of the Southern Parkway in May, crews unearthed ancient ruins from a settlement of Ancestral Puebloans dating as far back as 400 B.C., along with dinosaur fossils.
A high-speed pursuit crossing three states ended just outside St. George on Jan. 30 when Utah authorities arrested former NASCAR star Tyler Walker, found in possession of various drugs.
Columnist Ed Kociela weighs in on the Dec. 20 federal ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Utah and the state government’s response, suggesting that LGBT rights are “more dangerous” to families than polygamy.
In February, St. George resident Jeramy Shawn Olsen died from injuries sustained during an aggravated assault, launching a manhunt for the suspect, Mario Lucero.
With the summer months approaching, suppliers, technicians and consumers faced a crunch due to restrictions on the air conditioning system refrigerant R-22.
Professional rock climber Ammon McNeely will always remember Oct. 28 as the day he nearly paid the ultimate price on his quest for adventure. During a BASE-jump stunt in Moab, his parachute malfunctioned and he sustained life-threatening injuries.
The Clark family of Provo were traveling to Disneyland on May 24 when their motorhome’s front tire blew out, triggering a fatal crash.
In February, the Utah State Tax Commission shut down operations of Executive Auto Group following an investigation into questionable business practices. Owner Richard “Rabbit” Downward was charged with multiple counts of fraud.
Record snowfall on Dec. 7 triggered a string of traffic accidents, forcing Southern Utah residents to stay off the roads.
In September, St. George citizens were bewildered by an article in the National Report claiming that pornography was now illegal in the city, with first-time offenders receiving 30 days in jail. It was actually a fake story generated by the satirical news and politics publication with the goal of raising ire.
Richard “Rabbit” Downward, the owner of Executive Auto Group who was arrested following closure of his business by the state tax commission, pleaded not guilty to multiple fraud charges on March 1.
Following a July report that imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs ordered his male followers to impregnate all girls age 12 and over, columnist Ed Kociela called for immediate action by Utah law enforcement, whom he opined had “done nothing” to stop the group’s alleged past crimes.
On Feb. 25, woman was struck by a vehicle while unsafely crossing Telegraph Road in Washington City and transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Following the devastating loss of 13-year-old Olivia Hansen, who took her own life on April 21, the community rallied around her grieving family with a benefit event.
In the early morning of Jan. 19, a massive boulder rolled into and destroyed part of a house at the bottom of Foremaster Ridge, giving Wanda Denhalter a rude awakening she barely escaped with her life.
The FTC filed suit against the Sunyich family and Ideal Financial Solutions in February, alleging that they had scammed clients out of over $25 million in an elaborate scheme.
- STGnews video favorites of 2013
- STGnews highlights on 2013 high school sports
- STGnews photos, galleries: 2013 highlights
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