Police say two amateur cyclists competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Saturday were seriously injured in a car crash on the triathlon route involving a 68 year-old women who admitted to using and possessing drugs.
The crash occurred outside St. George, Utah USA less than a mile from where two brothers participating in the Spring Tour of St. George gran fondo were struck and killed in April by another alleged driver high on drugs.
Witnesses told police that at approximately 11:00 a driver, later identified as 68-year-old Diana Marie Linford, did not obey instructions from a course marshal with flags and proceeded to drive her Jeep SUV directly onto the closed course filled with cyclists, where she reportedly pulled directly in front of riders and stopped in the middle of the road. Two cyclists then immediately struck her vehicle from behind at over 30mph, crushing the rear door and shattering the window with the impact of their bodies.
Police reports indicate the riders received “serious bodily injuries,” with one rider having difficulty breathing when first responders arrived and the other suffering a compound fracture of the arm that required a police officer to apply life saving tourniquet.
The two riders were transported to hospital in St. George where they remain as of Monday afternoon. One of the riders, Mark Evans, shared a hospital picture and list of injuries, which include a broken nose, two cervical fractures, two thoracic fractures, an elbow fracture, four broken ribs, a major laceration on his arm, several lacerations on his face, and leg road rash.
According to court documents, Linford was alone in the vehicle and admitted to police she had been smoking marijuana that morning and that she had illegal narcotics in her car. In addition, two police Drug Recognition Experts evaluated Linford and considered her under the influence of drugs. She was then arrested and booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility on suspicion of negligently operating a vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury, and failure to obey a flagman.
Photos/Media: St. George News, Mark Evans