UPDATED: Highway Patrol says driver under influence slammed into another vehicle on I-15

File photo of Utah Highway Patrol vehicle, Jan. 22, 2020 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — In the last hour of Thursday night, two passengers in a Toyota Camry were driving in the fast lane of Interstate 15 between the two exits in Washington City when they saw the lights of a Mercedes-Benz coming fast on their heels.

2017 file photo for illustrative purposes only of Utah Highway Patrol troopers at crash on I-15 southbound near mile marker 4, St. George, Utah, Jan. 3, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The Utah Highway Patrol says the Mercedes driver didn’t stop and the vehicle crashed into the Camry and caused it to spin off the right shoulder. The UHP says there were no life-threatening injuries but the driver of the Mercedes “was cited for DUI,” St. Cameron Roden said.

The incident occurred at 11:17 p.m. Thursday night at milepost 12 of I-15.

“The Mercedes hit the back of the Toyota, causing the Toyota to spin off to the right shoulder and roll coming to rush back on its wheels,” Roden said. “The Mercedes continued north and struck the guardrail on the right shoulder where it also hit a sign.”

There were no major injuries and with both vehicles coming to rest on the shoulder, there was no disruption to traffic. 

St. George News has obtained the trooper report of the incident, which identifies Cindy Michelle Gower, 42, of Washington City as the driver of the Mercedes.

According to the UHP trooper on the scene, witness said the Mercedes was traveling at around 100 mph when it hit the Toyota. The trooper also described the suspect as being incoherent at the scene, repeatedly mentioning that she needed her glasses, that she was going the wrong way and if she could be taken home with just a warning.

The patrolman also said in the report that the suspect said she had taken Xanax prescribed by a doctor and then failed a field sobriety test.

Studies say taking Xanax can impair reaction time and cause drowsiness and a person should not drive for several hours after taking it.

As of Friday afternoon, Gower remained in Purgatory Correction Facility in Hurricane but will be released Friday night unless a judge orders she remain held.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Updated Jan. 27, 4:30 p.m. – Details on suspect.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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