Gorge accidents; Lexus tries to snake 3 semis

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Arizona – Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge in Mohave County, Arizona, saw two accidents Monday morning, one involving a caravan of three semitrailers, or 18-wheelers, and a Lexus SUV; the other was a single-vehicle accident resolved without incident.

At about 8:30 a.m. MDT (Utah), or 7:30 a.m. MST (Arizona), a Lexus SUV traveling northbound on I-15 came upon three semis operating for the same company traveling in caravan from Las Vegas on a pickup run.

According to reports taken by troopers at the accident scene, the Lexus cut in front of the rear semi as they entered the first northbound construction zone in the Gorge, Arizona Highway Patrol Sgt. John T. Bottoms said, where work has wound down to cleanup.

The Lexus proceeded at what the semi drivers described as very fast speed, coming upon the front two semis as they were on an uphill climb entering the construction zone for Bridge No. 6, an active construction zone. Traffic lanes merge into one lane at that point and the speed limit lowers to 45 mph.

“As the 18-wheeler merged over in front of them to the left, (the Lexus) tried to pass and there wasn’t enough room so (it) hit four or five of the orange barrels causing damage to the front of the car and windshield,” Bottoms said.

When the semi drivers stopped to check for injuries, the Lexus driver, Darrell Jackson, and his passenger, Louis Washington, reportedly started running around, taking pictures, arguing and yelling at the truck drivers, Bottoms said. So the truck drivers directed they all move forward to a highway pullout at Cedar Pocket about one-mile from the collision spot, thereby averting traffic impacts.

Jackson was cited for failure to control speed to avoid a collision, he said, and was cited for having no proof of current insurance, and an expired registration.

Both Jackson and Washington complained of sore backs, Bottoms said, and were transported by Beaver Dam Fire Department to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George for examination.

The Lexus, which suffered damage to the front end, a mirror hanging off and a shattered windshield, was secured and left at the pullout at the driver’s request, Bottoms said.

An earlier accident occurred around 7:30 a.m. MDT, 6:30 a.m. MST on I-15 southbound about one mile past the Utah-Arizona state line. Bottoms said the vehicle somehow ended up on its side. The driver was uninjured and called Zions Motors out of St. George for assistance before troopers arrived on scene. The incident was resolved with AHP taking an accident report.

Traffic flow was not obstructed by either accident, Bottoms said, and the construction company would come restore the orange barrels in the construction zone.

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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Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • carol July 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I go thru there all of the time and there is always some idiot trying to beat traffic to the single lane. They won’t slow down like the traffic sighns say and the don’t get into the properlane until the last second. IDIOTS! I see it all the time.

  • Aaron July 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I drive an 18-wheeler, the construction is in a bad spot and some cars race the big rigs to be in front of them. I don’t think they know how much time and space a big rig needs to move around, yes they can be slow or half in your lane, but just take it one step at a time. The road will open up at both ends of the gorge.

  • My Evil Twin July 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Darrell Jackson appears to be another contestant trying out for the Darwin Award. Drive like a manic around big trucks, then try to blame the truck driver for his screw up. Brilliant. Like it has never happened before. It doesn’t say anything about him being arrest for DUI, so he must just be stupid.

  • Walter July 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    (Jackson gonna have some ‘splaining to do in the future, I think.)

  • DB July 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    What part of L.A. or (Vegas) is the driver from? 🙂

  • Paul Jensen July 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Some people have to learn things the hard way. I’d say smashing up your Lexus to try and save yourself a minute or two is doing it the hard way. Glad no other vehicles were involved.
    And Darrell Jackson, if you are reading this, stop with the wimpy sore back dude. You were the cause of the whole thing, so get over yourself and own it.

  • bob July 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I see plenty of idiots whether cars or big rigs. And big rigs should not be driving in “caravan style”. Isn’t that illegal in most states?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic July 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Bob, the term caravan was my own choice of words to describe the three driving together, operating for the same company from Vegas on pickup run. No implication beyond that was intended.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • killjoy July 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Sounds like jackson might be trying to claim he was hurt. If story is right and he & his passenger were running around after accident doesn’t sound like they were hurt.
    Insurance fraud maybe?
    Great article on car insurance fraud on ksl.com this morning. This story reminded me of that story.

  • Tried and convicted July 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    No insurance. No registration. All parties involved need to ignore all claims or complaints by the occupants of the (over priced Toyota). Except for the damage caused by the( OPT ) then the driver should be personally responsible for such damage. Now let’s see how bad both are injured. Hope they filed for their Obamacare properly. Say What !

  • groanattack July 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Must be the HEAT!

  • Ueli Maeli July 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    “Both Jackson and Washington complained of sore backs”, but they were running around taking pictures, right…..

  • Jared August 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Big Rigs Own The Road!!!! The End!!!!!

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