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Utah County Sheriffs Office
Rescuers respond to a rollover near Birdseye Sunday. The Suburban rolled 400 feet down a steep hill.

PROVO — A Salem man remains in serious condition after rolling his Suburban about 400 feet down a steep hill near Birdseye over the weekend.

Gerald Haskell, 33, and a friend, Benjamin Forsythe, 44, of Spanish Fork, drove up Spanish Fork Canyon late Saturday night, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Hodgson, the county's search and rescue director. The two were on a rugged part of a side road above U.S. 89 near a marble quarry when Haskell tried to back up. He went over the embankment and the Suburban rolled about 400 feet down the hill Sunday around 2 a.m., Hodgson said. Haskell was thrown out of the vehicle.

Though he suffered serious injuries, Haskell pulled himself back up the hill and crawled into the Suburban, Hodgson said. He lay down in back of the Suburban and pulled a seat cover over himself for warmth while Forsythe hiked down the hill to U.S. 89 to flag down help.

Some motorists picked up Forsythe and drove him to the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon where he phoned dispatch, Hodgson said. Personnel from Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue and Spanish Fork EMS responded, located the vehicle and made contact with Haskell around 7:30 a.m.

Haskell was conscious enough to communicate with deputies on the scene.

Deputies requested a Life Flight helicopter, and they decided to hoist Haskell from the wreck because they feared it would take too long to carry him back up the hill to the road, Hodgson said.

Haskell was flown to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Hodgson said, where he was taken into emergency surgery.

Intermountain Healthcare spokeswoman Janet Frank said Haskell remained in serious condition Monday.

Hodgson said deputies found evidence of alcohol at the scene, and they are still determining if it played a factor in the wreck. He also said it's uncertain if Haskell was wearing his seat belt at the time of the rollover.

"I doubt it," he said.

E-mail: jdana@desnews.com