ST. GEORGE — Two men escaped serious injury when a pickup truck was launched on top of a concrete barrier after the driver fell asleep in the Virgin River Gorge Sunday morning.
Just before 7:30 a.m. MDT, a pickup truck was heading north on I-15 about five miles south of the Arizona/Utah border when the driver fell asleep after a night of gambling in Mesquite, Nevada, Arizona Highway Patrol Trooper Tom Callister said.
“The driver said he was really tired and the passenger offered to drive for him,” Callister said. “But he refused.”
As the pickup approached milepost 23, the driver drifted off and hit the guardrail with enough force to push the rear of the truck up onto the concrete wall next to the right shoulder where it became wedged on top of the barrier against a rock fence.
The driver sustained minor injuries and both occupants refused medical attention.
Both occupants were properly restrained when the crash occurred, which contributed to the fact that neither sustained any serious injuries.
Drowsiness was the primary cause of Sunday’s crash, Callister said.
“If you’re too tired to drive, then pull over and let someone else drive or take a nap,” he said.
He also cautioned drivers that driving while tired is as dangerous as drunk driving. A driver who is unable to keep his eyes open due to drowsiness can be just as dangerous as any driver with a blood alcohol content of .10, he says.
“Fatigued drivers are just as dangerous,” he said.“That’s the moral of the story here.”
The pickup truck was later towed from the roadway and there was minimal impact on traffic, primarily due to the crash taking place early on a Sunday morning.
Arizona Highway Patrol, Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire District and the St. George Fire Department responded to the scene.
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