Girl in extremely critical condition after crash, police considering DUI charges

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FILLMORE, Utah — A 13-year-old girl is in extremely critical condition after a vehicle rollover left her pinned under the car, officials said Saturday, and on Sunday police said they are considering pressing DUI charges against the driver.

Sgt. Jacob Cox of the Utah Highway Patrol said Sunday they are considering DUI charges in connection with the incident.

Cox did not provide specific details regarding the possibility of DUI charges. He also said Sunday hospital officials were not releasing updates regarding the teen’s condition.

At approximately 7:15 a.m. Rachelle Nicolson, 39, of Lehi, was traveling south on Interstate 15 with a 17-year-old girl in the front passenger seat and the 13-year-old girl in the back seat.

Preliminary investigations show that the girls were not wearing seat belts.

At mile marker 140, Nicholson drifted off the road on the left side into the median, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. She over-corrected then came across both travel lanes.

“The car went off the left side of the road into the median, then came back onto the roadway before going off the right side of the roadway, the car ended up rolling,” said Lt. Nick Bowles of the Utah Highway Patrol.

The vehicle overturned just as it left the roadway to the right.

“It came to rest on top of her, and some passersby ended up stopping and actually lifted the vehicle enough to where they could pull her out from beneath the vehicle,” Bowles said.

The girl was transported to Primary Children’s Hospital in extremely critical condition.

The teenager told police she woke lying partially on the trunk through the rear window.

Nicolson is being investigated for possible impaired driving, and police said they do not believe alcohol was a factor.

“The nature of the crash is one thing,” Bowles said. “Anytime somebody drives off the road for no apparent reason, we definitely want to look into that. And some statements that were made, we’re looking into that right now.”

Nicolson and the teenager were transported to Fillmore Community Medical Center for treatment.

Ross Varner is a bishop with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the family’s ward, and he said the community is concerned for the family.

“Anytime a situation like this, it hits everybody really hard,” he said. “There’s a lot of very concerned neighbors and members of the ward concerned… and a lot of prayers are going out for the family.”

Police said some witnesses may have left the scene before authorities could interview them. Anyone who saw the crash is asked to contact police at (435) 743-6530.


  • cortney

    i dont move my car until we are all buckled. Not wearing seatbelts is a dangerious thing. Prayers to the girl!

      • laytonian

        No, it’s NOT a law. Utah does not require children under 16 to be buckled up.
        It’s ALSO not a “primary infraction” — meaning that they can only cite you if they have first cited you for something else.

    • patrick

      How about requiring cars to be made of real iron and steel, like cars of the 1960’s?–Seatbelts don’t do much good when you’re surrounded by plastic & cheap scrap metal–Why do people continue putting their families & $$$ into this pathetic, unsafe garbage? Enough already.

    • Eric Anderson

      More like 95/5. You’re vastly less likely to die if you’re wearing a seat belt, but there are rare exceptions. Like every other risk in life, you have to play the odds. And in this case the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of belts.

  • pam

    Seat belts have proven beyond a 50/50 chance of protecting the occupants in a vehicle. It is hard to speculate what would or could have happened not wearing them.

  • Common sence

    MY GOD! Why would you not wear a seat belt. Texting while driving usually results in this type of tragedy.

      • Riodj80

        Ksl is reporting that drugs or alcohol were NOT a factor in this crash…given that they were from Lehi, and were south of Fillmore by 7:00 in the morning leads me to believe they got an early start and she fell asleep at the wheel.

        I think a reported asked UHP if drugs or alcohol were a factor and the UHP ssaid “we are investigating that”, and the media ran with it rather than waiting for the facts.

  • Mary

    This situation is not just “another reason to wear seat belts,” this is a girl’s life at stake. Please be considerate.

  • patrick zierden

    How about stop buying all these nasty cars made of plastic and [beyond cheap] scrap metal?!–Seat belts don’t do much good if you’re flying down the highway in a glorified {covered} go-kart~~

    • Bitsko

      Do your research: Cars are safer than ever, which is why per capita traffic fatalities have never been lower.

      While you’re at it, Google the IIHS video of a late model “plastic” Chevy crashing head-on into a 1956 Chevy. It’s not even a contest. The crash test dummy in the “old tank”, made back when men were men and cars weighed 6000 pounds, was mangled. The dummy in the “plastic” car would have walked away.

      Or go ahead and keep driving your lead sled. Darwin will get you eventually.

      • patrick

        If you truly believe a 1500-ish pound plastic KIA/Toyota etc that will flip over with a strong gust of wind, {much less over-correcting on freeway, etc} and collapsing the roof and everyone inside, regardless of any Chinese seat belts, is not the truth— Darwin has already got YOU~ Regardless of some dumb lopsided Insurance company test on one ’56 Chevy, paid for by the car companies that sell everyone their plastic Barbie-mobile rip-off death carts~~

  • Bitsko

    I rank drunk drivers somewhere with child molesters, drug dealers and lawyers on my personal scale. Useless sub-humans all.

    Drunk driving should be a felony. First time, EVERY time, with serious jail time and a PERMANENT loss of driving privilege.

    Imagine the penalty if you carried a deer rifle up onto the foothills, got drunk, and randomly fired bullets out into the city just because you felt like it and didn’t care who you hurt. Is driving under the influence any different? The body count suggests it’s far worse, actually.

    Choosing to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs is choosing to give a big middle finger to the human race. It’s saying, “I’m going to do what I feel like and I don’t care how many of you die.”

    Why do we tolerate it?

  • Richard

    Bitsko do your research before calling anyone a drunk skank
    She is a friend if mine we went to high school together
    She was not drunk

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