‘It’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 resulted in a collision with a pedestrian at the Pilot Travel Center, St. George, Utah on June 7, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

ST. GEORGE- An unlucky motorist had a nasty surprise at the pump Tuesday night, and it wasn’t just the price of gas.

Most of the damage to the Nissan’s grille and bumper predates Tuesday night’s collision, but hitting another vehicle and its driver at the gas pump did not help matters, St George, Utah, June 7, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

A grown man who asked not to be identified told St. George News he was refueling his Hyundai Ioniq at the Pilot Travel Center just off Brigham Road when a sudden noise alerted him to a Driverless Nissan Murano was driving towards him at moderate speed.

St. George Police Officer Jace Hutchings said the Murano was being towed by two men driving a silver Nissan Armada. The Armada had just pulled into the Pilot parking lot with the Murano in tow, only for their cargo of vehicles to break loose and head for the man at Pump 7.

“Meanwhile the guy is 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, slams him against his car and flips him over.”

Moments later, two passengers traveling with the man who was just struck got out of the Pilot to see the immediate aftermath of the collision. They moved to help their injured friend as the Armada occupants stopped their vehicle and rushed to put rocks under the detached Murano, Hutchings said.

“The call went out at 8:01 a.m., and at first I thought it was a tow truck – the call went out as if a car had fallen off a tow truck onto someone,” said he declared. “I thought, ‘This is a bad day.’ Luckily, the car pushed him back more than it cornered him. He’s going to have a sore arm tomorrow, but I don’t see any more injuries than that.

A loose Nissan Murano left a trail of liquid 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

Gold Cross Ambulance paramedics were called to assess the injured man, but he was ultimately refused transport to hospital. The rear passenger wing took the brunt of the impact, and the crash only made matters worse for the already damaged Murano.

A trail of fluid marked the Murano’s path from its point of impact to where it came to rest in the Pilot parking lot. Travel center employees did their best to secure the vehicle and clean up after the leak with the help of the tow pair.

The two Armada men cooperated with police, and Hutchings said he could have cited them for negligent collision under a city ordinance. The agent ultimately decided not to issue a citation, although he did provide a form for the parties involved to exchange insurance information.

Ironically, the collision happened during National Trailer Safety Week (June 5-11, 2022).

Unsecured loads and improper trailer maintenance can result in hefty fines and contribute to several fatal accidents on Utah roads each year. Safe towing tips and best practices for hauling cargo can be found online through the Trailer Safety Campaign.

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