Teen suspected of DUI driving in wrong lane collides head-on with SUV

ST. GEORGE — Three people involved in a head-on crash Sunday night escaped serious injury after a teen driver suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol collided with an SUV in St. George.

A white Mazda 3 and a red Chevrolet Blazer are damaged following a head-on collision on East Riverside Drive in St. George, Utah, Aug. 21, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

St. George Police responded to the incident involving a white Mazda 3 and a red Chevrolet Blazer at approximately 10:15 p.m. on East Riverside Drive just west of where the road intersects with South Morningside Drive.

The 18-year-old man driving the Mazda was eastbound as the driver of the Chevrolet was going west on East Riverside Drive.

“The Mazda did an improper lane travel into the westbound lane, and that resulted in a head-on collision with the Chevy,” St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said.

Medical personnel from Gold Cross Ambulance arrived to examine the two drivers and another occupant of the Chevrolet. The driver of the Mazda complained of chest pain resulting from the airbag or seat belt, but no other injuries were reported.

“That’s pretty fortunate considering it was a head-on,” Trombley said.

Wendell Jessop, of Washington, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The Mazda Driver, Wendell Jessop, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and charged with improper lane travel, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving with an alcohol restriction and alcohol consumption by a minor.

Read more: Powerful coalition launches to address teen killer: Underage drinking

Both vehicles sustained heavy damage and were towed from the scene.

Traffic was intermittently stopped as responders diverted traffic through eastbound lanes of East Riverside Drive as the westbound lanes in the area were blocked by the crash.

St. George Fire also responded to help conduct traffic and clean up the crash debris.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • mmsandie August 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    What a name like Jessop Dui? Can,t be possible.. Where did he get the alcohol?

  • ladybugavenger August 21, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    It’s unfortunate to get a dui before you are old enough to buy alcohol. Someone was contributing to a minor. Bad bad people

  • Sedona August 21, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Nice looking picture there Mr. Jessop.
    Any job opportunities in St. George on the horizon?

  • DesertBill August 21, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Does “driving with an alcohol restriction” mean that he already has a prior DUI?

  • Caveat_Emptor August 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    The Chevy Blazer folks were fortunate to be in a more substantial vehicle, which still sustained serious damage.
    The prior comments beg the question: Has this kid been convicted of DUI previously, and if so, what restrictions were in place to prevent him from drinking and driving?

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