‘This corner is notorious:’ Fire chiefs warn motorcyclists about section of Gunlock Road

Jun 8, 2023, 7:17 PM | Updated: 7:38 pm

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – Fire chiefs in southern Utah are warning about a dangerous stretch of road that’s being called “Motorcycle Rock” because of the number of accidents.

“This corner is notorious,” said Gunlock Fire Chief Charley Guthrie. “If we get a call that there’s been a motorcycle accident we can almost guarantee that it’s on this spot.”

The sharp corner has an off-camber slope and is located just north of mile marker 11 on Gunlock Road. The corner comes right after a straightaway and speed is a factor in most of the crashes, Guthrie said.

The most recent crash happened over Memorial Day weekend and resulted in a miraculous rescue of 24-year-old Jacob Nilson of St. George.

Nilson headed out on an afternoon motorcycle ride on Sat. May. 27 on Gunlock Road. He doesn’t remember much about the accident that launched him more than 60 feet into a ravine.

“My left hand was broken and my ribs were broken and my foot was broken,” he said. “So there was no way I was moving out of there.”

Because of poor cell phone coverage in the area, Nilson struggled for more than 90 minutes to get a call to connect with 911.

“I just knew I had to get that call out because there’s no other way I would be alive today if I didn’t get that call out and it was really important that I stay awake that long,” he said. “So I just had to keep trying.”

Once Nilson’s 911 call connected and he described his injuries, he tried to follow the operator’s instructions to put a tourniquet around his bleeding leg using his belt.

“Jake was incredibly fortunate he was able to get a signal out on his cell phone and call for help,” Chief Guthrie said. “Otherwise, he may still be there now.”

When first responders arrived in the area they didn’t see any signs of a crash or spot Nilson. It wasn’t until they looked over the edge of the road and heard him moaning in pain that they found him wedged between a rock and a bush.

“Extremely lucky,” Ryan D’Ambrosio, battalion chief of Dammeron Valley Fire and Rescue, said of Nilson’s rescue. “We’ve seen incidents in the same area with not the same outcome.”

Rescue crews used ropes to get Nilson out of the ravine. He was then transported by medical helicopter to the hospital.

His mom said he’s expected to make a full recovery and thanked those involved in the rescue.

“We’ll always be grateful to those wonderful people for their inspiration and they knew they had some angels on their side,” said Barbara Nilson, Jacob’s mother. “And they knew there was no other way we could have found him or that he could have gotten a call out.”

D’Ambrosio and Guthrie pleaded with motorcyclists to stay safe on Gunlock Road by slowing down.

“Slow down around this turn in gunlock,” D’Ambrosio said. “Our call volumes increase by at least in double in the month of May.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Accidents & Injuries

A Utah Highway Patrol emblem is pictured as shown on the side of a UHP vehicle. (Utah Highway Patro...

Mary Culbertson

Motorcyclist fatally thrown from Highway 66

A motorcyclist was fatally thrown from the roadway of Highway 66 after attempting to pass another vehicle, UHP says.

16 minutes ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Andrew Adams

Mom wants full traffic signal at Heber City crossing where 14-year-old was hit

A mother said Tuesday she wanted to see a full traffic signal installed at the crossing where her 14-year-old son was seriously injured as the city council was preparing for a vote to fast-track the project.

5 days ago

FILE PHOTO (Idaho State Police/Facebook)...

Michael Houck

Salt Lake City teen killed in Idaho crash

A two-vehicle crash in Idaho killed a Utah teenager early Monday morning, police say.

5 days ago

West Valley Police cars at the spot a Granger High School teen was hit by car (KSL TV)...

Eliza Pace

Granger High student hit by car, hospitalized in critical condition

A student from Granger High School is in critical condition after they were hit by a car.

5 days ago

Security video showing a bystander walking across UTA trax lines and almost getting hit...

Katija Stjepovic

Utah law enforcement stepping up rail safety precautions

Utah Transit Authority is giving a wake-up call regarding safety around railroads, showcasing some terrifying, extremely close calls. 

6 days ago

FILE — (KSL TV)...

Michael Houck

Two Utahns killed in single vehicle crash near Arizona/Utah boarder

Seven people were involved in a single-vehicle crash near Littlefield, Arizona, on Saturday.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

‘This corner is notorious:’ Fire chiefs warn motorcyclists about section of Gunlock Road