ST. GEORGE — Doug M. Shaerrer, an 80-year-old man from Lindon, Utah, was transported by Life Flight to St. George Regional Hospital after the truck he was in submerged into the water from the loading dock at Quail Creek State Park on Tuesday evening.
Shaerrer died Wednesday following the incident, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation announced in a release on Friday.
Update Jan 15, 4:30 p.m. Information added, including the identity of the victim and park ranger and the notice of the victim’s death.
While the investigation is still active, Lt. Regan Wilson, with the State of Utah Department of Natural Resources, told St. George News, foul play is not suspected, though it isn’t definitely ruled out.
“It’s unknown whether or not he put his vehicle in drive or reverse or what actually happened,” Wilson said. “Rangers are investigating at this time.”
Earl Howe, a man who was recreating in the area, told St. George News the man had been fishing alone and was loading his boat onto a trailer hitched to his truck when the incident occurred. (See Ed. note)
Howe said Shaerrer conscious and aware while the truck rolled backward slowly into the water but made no attempt to flee the vehicle.
“I’m yelling at him to roll down his windows and get out of the truck, and he’s not doing it,” Howe said. “When it went under he was conscious. He knew what was going on, but he wasn’t doing anything.”
Howe speculated that Shaerrer was trying to salvage his truck and his boat. The boat was still connected to the trailer of the underwater truck after the victim was transported. Howe said the top of the truck may have been 2-3 feet beneath the surface before it came to rest.
He said the victim replied, “Yes,” when Howe asked if he should call 911, and Howe’s fiancé alerted park rangers. Howe then assisted park ranger Dylan Urban in pulling Shaerrer from the vehicle and supplied the survival ax that was used to break the windows of the truck to reach the man.
After being pulled from the truck, Urban performed CPR. Shaerrer was then moved to a Life Flight helicopter and transported to the hospital.
Urban experienced injuries in the rescue, including cuts. He was treated on-scene before being transported locally to a hospital and was released “after a few hours,” according to the Friday Parks and Recreation release. Urban is expected to make a full recovery.
Life Flight, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue, Washington County Search and Rescue and Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to this incident.
This is a developing story.
Ed. note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the witness as Earl Hall.
Update Jan 13, 5 p.m. video added.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.