Man severs thumb in motorcycle crash; faces reckless driving charge

In the background, police help a motorcyclist after his bike, shown in the foreground, collided with a car. The motorcyclist was allegedly speeding and passing in the center turn lane on Main Street before the crash. Photo by Moab City Police

A local motorcyclist faces a charge of reckless driving after a September collision with a car put him in the hospital without his right thumb. Witnesses to the collision told police that the rider, who had previously received traffic warnings from police, was speeding before the collision. The rider said he was abiding by the speed limit.

Witnesses told police that the motorcyclist was traveling at least 55 mph in the 45 mph zone near 840 South Main Street and using the middle turn lane to pass cars. One witness, who told police he was a motorcycle enthusiast, said the driver was traveling faster than 70 mph.

Photo by Moab City Police

The driver denied he was speeding and said that the driver of the SUV was at fault in the accident.

Police said that, based on witness statements and the state of the scene when they arrived, they believe the motorcyclist had been passing cars using the righthand lane as it was traveling south; it then moved into the left lane; it attempted to pass another car using the middle, left turn lane; and in the end, the motorcycle collided head-on with an SUV in the center lane as the SUV was turning left into northbound traffic.

The motorcyclist “is at fault for reckless driving and passing in a turning lane,” an officer said in the incident report.

One police officer said that, when he arrived at the scene, he found the motorcyclist lying on the ground nearly 60 feet from the spot of the collision. The man was surrounded by people, bleeding from his right hand.

Photo by Moab City Police

The officer applied a tourniquet to stem the man’s bleeding then went over to the spot of the collision, where he was “able to locate the amputated thumb,” according to the report.

Police later gave the severed thumb to Grand County EMS, who took the man to Moab Regional Hospital for treatment. The hospital later transferred the man to another hospital for further treatment.

Police said that, while the driver of the SUV sustained only minor injuries when her airbag deployed, the car itself sustained extensive damage to the driver’s side. They also said that the motorcyclist was not wearing any safety equipment prior to the crash.