Police: 14-year-old crashes stolen vehicle into St. George home, sparking blaze

ST. GEORGE — A 14-year-old was charged with DUI early Thursday morning after crashing a stolen car into a family home.

Two-story residence on East 2000 South is heavily damaged when car crashes into home and catches fire, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2021 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Shortly before 1 a.m., officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a home located on the 2800 block of East 2000 South in St. George on a report of a vehicle that crashed into a residence and caught fire.

St. George Police Officer Tiffany Mitchell told St. George News the incident involved a 14-year-old who crashed into a home with an Acura Integra, which was reportedly taken from a family member. The car caught fire and was fully involved in flames that spread to the home.

St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said the Acura was reportedly traveling west along East 2000 South and hit the driveway before continuing along the front lawn and then crashing into the large pillars located in the entryway of the home.

Within seconds of the impact, he said, the family of seven, two adults and five children, evacuated the home by running out the back door, since the front door was blocked by the Acura, which was fully involved in fire by then.

With the family safe outside, the homeowner ran around to the front of the home and found the driver still inside the burning car. The man then pulled the teen out of the vehicle and away from the burning wreckage, Stoker said.

Once the car fire was extinguished, fire crews tackled the blaze burning in the front of the home that had spread from the pillars to an exterior wall on the first floor adjacent to the master bedroom closet.

The fire spread quickly to the second floor. Stoker said the pillars, which were constructed with wood and a brick veneer overlay, cracked from the car’s impact, which allowed the flames to travel from the car to the opening in the pillars. The flames then moved up through the hollow pillars, similar to smoke moving up a chimney, he said, and then spread through the walls and into the second-floor attic.

Tire tracks visible along the driveway show path of the Acura just before it struck the home on South 2000 East in St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2021 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Meanwhile, firefighters began pulling drywall and other materials away to gain access to the fire on the second floor. Crews worked even after the flames were extinguished, he said, checking for hot spots or any smoldering material that could reignite and cause a secondary fire.

The home was heavily damaged and is not inhabitable. In the short term, Stoker said, the family will be staying with relatives until repairs can be made.

Dominion Energy, St. George City crews and Dixie Power also responded to the scene to cut the gas and power to the home. The adolescent driver was checked out by Gold Cross paramedics and did not have any serious injuries, Stoker said.

The driver of the Acura was later cited for DUI, driving without a license, as well as curfew and traffic violations, Mitchell said, before he was released into the custody of his parents.

This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 

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

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