SHIVWITS RESERVATION — A passer-by discovered an overturned pickup truck with a dead body in a ravine off Old Dixie Highway 91 about five and a half miles southeast of the Shivwits Convenience Store Friday morning.
A medical examiner stands next to the wreck of a pickup truck that was found overturned in a ravine off Old Dixie Highway 91, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, Nov. 24, 2023 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News
Officers said the circumstances are unclear of how or when the vehicle ended up off the road at mile marker 12. A man officers said was the sole passenger of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene and had been deceased for an unknown amount of time before he and the vehicle were discovered. The identity of the man is being withheld pending notification of family.
The overturned pickup was found two weeks to the day and within feet of where another vehicle went off Old 91 and rolled several times, eventually coming to rest.
Authorities said they received a call at around 11:30 a.m. Friday about the overturned vehicle seen off about 20 feet below the highway in a wash to the north of the road.
“Someone was in like a lifted truck, but maybe somebody in the passenger seat was able to see something,” Deputy Graham Hancock of Washington County Sheriff’s Office told St. George News at the scene, adding a passenger in that vehicle was a retired law enforcement officer who immediately called authorities.
Hancock said a Santa Clara-Ivins police officer was the first to arrive at the scene. They were followed by Santa Clara-Ivins Fire & Rescue who determined the man was deceased. A Mercy Air air helicopter was dispatched out of Mesquite for possible assistance.
The Washington County Sherrif and a county medical examiner then scoured the scene as part of an ongoing investigation.
“Clearly, we don’t know the circumstances,” Hancock said. “Sometime this morning a vehicle had gone off the roadway and rolled into the ravine. We don’t even know exactly when this happened”
Both directions of Old Dixie Highway 91 remained open as the investigation continued into the afternoon and the deceased man was carried away from the vehicle. A tow truck crew arrived around 1:30 p.m. to begin the process of using a crane to lift the wreckage out.
The vehicle was upside down with both passenger-side wheels missing.
While there were no apparent skid marks on either side of the highway, there were fresh tracks in the dirt off the road that would have come from a vehicle traveling southbound. The tracks were parallel in the direction of where the truck was resting.
Officers did not know for certain whether the tracks were related to the found truck or what direction the pick-up had been traveling on the highway above.
Car parts and a Santa hat hanging in brush could be seen above the wreck of a pickup truck that was found overturned in a ravine off Old Dixie Highway 91, Shivwits Reservation, Utah, Nov. 24, 2023 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News
In the same direction toward the wreckage site, there were mangled signs and a broken barbed-wire fence. In the brush about eight feet above the wreck was a Santa hat hanging atop a bush next to additional wreckage. It was unclear if the debris and broken fence were related to Friday’s found wreckage or possibly the crash two weeks before.
In that Nov. 10 rollover, officers said the driver of a Toyota Camry was traveling northbound at excessive speed and failed to make the turn. The vehicle exited the road and rolled into the ravine. The driver and passenger sustained serious but non-fatal injuries; the passenger was ejected from the vehicle. The driver has been arraigned on drunk driving charges and is out on bail pending trial, according to court records.
The area of both incidents lies between two blind curves that are within 600 feet of each other.
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