ST. GEORGE — A pickup truck with three passengers veered off northbound Interstate 15 past Parowan and went airborne, sending one person to the hospital Thursday morning. The Utah Highway Patrol blamed the crash on a driver distracted by looking for his cellphone.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., the driver of a Nissan Titan swerved off the right side of the road around mile marker 86 and continued for about 40 yards through the snow into a ditch, then went airborne before the truck landed on its side and skidded a few more yards.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Nielson said the male driver’s cellphone started to ring, explaining that when he looked down to try to find it, the pickup veered off the road. The driver was unable to regain control of the truck on the outside shoulder before it went airborne.
“The roads were pretty clear,” Nielsen said. “He was speeding and had his cruise control set over the speed limit. He got distracted and drifted off.”
The front seat passenger had to be extracted from the vehicle and was transported from the scene to the hospital.
The driver and a passenger in the back had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
Nielson said the driver and front passenger were wearing seat belts. The back passenger was not and had been lying down in the passenger cab of the pickup.
“The only thing that kept her from being thrown from the vehicle were curtain airbags,” Nielsen said of the backseat passenger.
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