Multiple crashes, fire reported along stretch of I-15 near Cedar City

A wrecked Honda Civic awaits removal by tow truck from the scene of a rollover crash on Interstate 15 near mile marker 48, Iron County, Utah, May 19, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A stretch of Interstate 15 south of Cedar City was the site of multiple vehicle crashes Wednesday, with an initial rollover being followed by two separate rear-end collisions, in addition to an unrelated fire in the center median a couple hours later.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Bambi Baie talks to a driver involved in a secondary crash following a rollover on Interstate 15 near mile marker 48, Iron County, Utah, May 19, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The first incident, which was reported around 11 a.m., involved a silver Honda Civic sedan with a male driver heading north on I-15 near mile marker 48.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Bambi Baie said the Honda driver reported that he had been traveling in the left lane when a Toyota 4Runner came up behind him at high speed.

“He went to make a lane change,” she said. “At the same time, he said the 4Runner made a lane change to go around. He then swerved right and ran off the road.”

Baie said the Honda went airborne off a berm, spun around and hit a power pole. Despite the heavy damage to the vehicle, the driver reported no injuries. He was seen getting a ride to town in the back seat of the tow truck that had been dispatched to pick up the wrecked car.

While that scene was being cleared, Baie said two separate secondary crashes occurred.

Both of those incidents were rear-end collisions where one driver was following too closely and not paying enough attention, Baie said, adding that nobody was injured in either crash.

Responding troopers were seen performing a slowdown maneuver in order to get drivers to reduce their speed before reaching the congested area.

“People are still coming in at 80-90 miles an hour, distracted and plowing into each other,” Baie said. “So we’ll get out there and we’ll force everybody to slow down by doing those back-and-forth motions. That’s usually an indicator that, ‘hey, guys, something’s up ahead.’”

Tow truck operators prepare to remove a wrecked Honda Civic from the scene of a rollover crash on Interstate 15 near mile marker 48, Iron County, Utah, May 19, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Baie added a reminder for drivers to focus on the road ahead, especially when traveling at freeway speeds.

“Not so many phones, not so much passengers, not so much radio, just pay attention to the road,” she said. 

The fire in the median, which occurred along that same stretch of I-15 just before 1 p.m., was sparked by a flat tire, Baie said.

“A semi truck blew a tire and pulled off,” she said, adding that the hot metal in the tire’s radial belt then started a fire in the dry grass in the median.

Multiple fire crews responded to the blaze, which was confined to the area between the northbound and southbound lanes of I-15.

The incidents marked the second straight Wednesday that multiple vehicle crashes were reported along that same general area of I-15. As previously reported in St. George News, three people were hospitalized following a series of collisions that occurred the afternoon of May 12.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!