‘Something must change’: 2 Utah triathletes injured less than mile from April crash that killed 2 cyclists

In April, two brothers from California were hit and killed along the same road in Washington City.

(Alastair Lee Bitsóí | The Salt Lake Tribune) Two ghost bikes honor the lives of the Bullard brothers, Adam, 49, and Matthew, 48, who were killed when they were struck by a car in Washington City on April 9, 2022. Two Ironman triathletes were hit by a car and injured near this site on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Two cyclists competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Saturday were injured when they slammed into a car that ended up on the southern Utah triathlon route.

The area where they crashed, at Telegraph Street and Slow Creek Lane in Washington City, is less than a mile from where two brothers were struck and killed in April as they rode in the Spring Tour of St. George cycling race.

Police say both wrecks were caused by impaired drivers. Two white “Ghost Bikes” mark the spot where California brothers Adam Bullard, 49, and Matthew Bullard, 48, were fatally struck in spring by a woman who told police she was experiencing a medical event at the time. The roadside memorial was installed in the days after the crash.

Matthew Bullard’s wife, April Bullard, told The Salt Lake Tribune this week that the two wrecks “in the span of six months, on the same road, is a clear indication that something must change.”

The driver in the April wreck, 47-year-old Julie Ann Budge, was charged with multiple criminal offenses, including DUI and automobile homicide, according to court documents filed in 5th District Court.

Both triathletes hospitalized

On Saturday, a 68-year-old woman was driving westbound on Telegraph Street at about 11 a.m. when she attempted to make a right turn onto Slow Creek Lane, according to a news release from Washington City police.

That turn took her into the triathlon course, where she reportedly stopped her car. As she was stopped in the raceway, two men competing on bicycles struck her vehicle, the release stated.

The riders received “serious bodily injuries” and were both hospitalized, according to a probable cause document. One rider was having difficulty breathing when emergency personnel arrived, and the other had a broken arm that required a police officer to apply a tourniquet, the document states.

One of the wounded triathletes, Mark Evans, further detailed his injuries on his Instagram account, including a broken nose, four fractures to his spine, a fractured elbow, broken ribs, lacerations and road rash.

(Via GoFundMe) Mark Evans, left, is photographed with girlfriend Lynnette Cook. Evans was injured in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

In a video on Instagram, in which a bloodied Evans becomes emotional, he said he was going 30 mph when he hit the car, and went through a rear window.

“Don’t spend another minute worrying about me,” he said. “There’s a thin line between stupid and tough, and I always seem to find it. I’ll be all right.”

A GoFundMe campaign for Evans had raised more than $20,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Driver charged

The 68-year-old driver, identified in charging documents as Diana Linford, told police she had been smoking marijuana that morning and that she had illegal narcotics in her car, according to court records. She was the only person in the vehicle.

Witnesses told police that the woman also did not obey a flagger involved in the event.

“Our prayers, concern, and thoughts are with the athletes and their families during this difficult time,” police said in a statement. “We encourage residents to be mindful when large events come to our community and to practice caution when roads are closed and traffic patterns change. It is never acceptable to drive while under the influence of illegal substances.”

Investigators considered Linford, of Farr West, impaired and arrested her, the probable cause document states. She was charged Tuesday with two felony counts of operating a vehicle under the influence resulting in serious injury, and one misdemeanor count of restricted use of a closed highway, court records show.

Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Ironman 70.3 event is considered a half Ironman, and consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run, accounting for 70.3 miles of competition. The full 2021 Ironman World Championship was held in St. George in May.