An Italian family of four was severely injured in a recent SUV accident near the Virgin River Gorge. The crash occurred on Interstate 15 by mile marker 11 in a construction zone area.
The family was visiting southern Utah and was traveling near the Virgin River Gorge in a rented 2019 GMB Acadia. Driving at 60 mph on a notoriously dangerous highway, the father did not notice the slowed vehicles up ahead. He immediately swerved as they quickly approached and drove off into an outer lane of I-15, according to Arizona Department of Public Safety. The SUV then slammed into the back of a stopped 18-wheeler, lodging the rented vehicle under the truck’s back end.
While the driver of the semi-truck was uninjured by the crash, the entire family suffered severe injuries. But because the family was visiting from Italy and hardly spoke any English, first responders found it difficult to effectively communicate with them.
When responders arrived, the mother, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was pinned inside the vehicle. Fortunately, firefighters were able to extract the woman from the SUV after they cut off the passenger door and peeled off the roof.
The mother was flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center by air ambulance along with her son, who suffered the most injuries. Her son was sitting in the backseat at the time of the crash.
The father, who was driving the family near the Virgin River Gorge, and his daughter, who suffered the least amount of injuries, were both taken by ground transportation to a nearby hospital.
The severity of their injures was difficult to discern, as they were unable to express what exactly was hurting them to responders. Although, Arizona Dpt. Of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said, “The teenage boy was injured the worst. He was somewhat combative because of his injuries. He was in a lot of pain, so it was difficult to get him to relax, get him down onto a backboard and let the fire department begin triaging him.”
Traffic was backed up for 8 miles all the way to mile marker 3.
There were many heroic people who responded to this accident. Several being the Mesquite Fire Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Beaver Dam/Little Field Fire District and a construction contractor, Fisher Sand and Gravel Company, who helped lift the trailer off the GMC so they could pull the vehicle out from under the semi-truck.
Countless private citizens also offered to help while traffic stood at a standstill and since they were the first people at the scene.
Sgt. Bottoms doesn’t believe the father will be cited for his reckless driving. “They have significant injuries and they’re going to take a long time to recover from some of those injuries. That will be punishment enough.”
Both parents were wearing seatbelts but it’s unclear if the children in the backseat were wearing seatbelts as well.
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