‘That’s a bad day’: Man pumping gas at Pilot Travel Center hit by loose car

Paramedics and police responded to reports of a faulty tow that had resulted in a auto-pedestrian collision at the Pilot Travel Center, St. George, Utah, June 7, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — One unlucky motorist got an unpleasant surprise at the pump Tuesday evening, and it wasn’t just the price of gas.

Most of the damage to the Nissan’s grill and bumper predated the Tuesday evening collision, but running into another vehicle and its driver at the gas pump didn’t improve things, St. George, Utah, June 7, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

An adult man who asked to remain unidentified told St. George News he was fueling his Hyundai Ioniq at the Pilot Travel Center just off Brigham Road when a sudden sound made him aware of a driverless Nissan Murano rolling toward him at moderate speed.

St. George Police Officer Jace Hutchings said the Murano was being towed by a pair of men driving a silver Nissan Armada. The Armada had just entered the Pilot parking lot with the Murano in tow, only for their vehicular cargo to come unhitched and make a beeline for the man at Pump 7.

“Meanwhile, the guy’s pumping gas, but he’s talking to his wife on the phone and leaning against his trunk facing away,” Hutchings said. “All of a sudden he hears something, and that’s when the Murano comes off the tow hitch, pins him against his car and then knocks him over.”

Moments later, a pair of passengers traveling with the man who was just struck exited the Pilot to see the collision’s immediate aftermath. They moved to help their injured friend while the Armada’s occupants stopped their vehicle and rushed to put rocks beneath the detached Murano, Hutchings said.

“The call came out at 8:01, and at first I thought it was a tow truck – the call came out like a car fell off a tow truck onto somebody,” he said. “I thought, ‘That’s a bad day.’ Luckily the car pushed him away more than pinned him. He’s going to have a sore arm tomorrow, but I can’t see any more injuries than that.”

A loose Nissan Murano left a trail of fluid from the point of impact with the Hyundai Ioniq pictured above and its driver, St. George, Utah, June 7, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

Paramedics with Gold Cross Ambulance were called out to assess the injured male, but he ultimately refused transport to the hospital. The rear passenger fender took the brunt of the impact, and the crash only made things worse for the already damaged Murano.

A trail of fluid marked the path of the Murano from its point of impact to the place it came to rest across the Pilot parking lot. Employees with the travel center did their best to secure the vehicle and clean up after the leak with the help of the towing pair.

Both men in the Armada cooperated with police, and Hutchings said he could have possibly cited them for negligent collision under city ordinance. The officer ultimately decided against issuing a citation, though he provided a form for the parties involved to exchange insurance information.

By some stroke of irony, the collision occurred in the middle of National Trailer Safety Week (June 5-11, 2022). 

Unsecured loads and improper trailer maintenance can carry hefty fines and contribute to multiple deadly crashes on Utah roads every year. Safe towing tips and best practices for hauling cargo can be found online through the trailer safety campaign.

Photo Gallery

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, 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!