Idaho State Police had a busy day on Friday, July 24, as accident after accident piled up around the Treasure Valley and beyond.
A slew of crashes happened on Interstate 84 near the Simco Road exit around 6:30 p.m., starting with Justin Fitzpatrick, 21, of Mountain Home, who was driving a 2002 Dodge Stratus toward Boise. Fitzpatrick was traveling under the speed limit when 50-year-old Steven Shelly of Meridian, who was driving a 2009 Pontiac G6, struck Fitzpatrick's vehicle from behind.
Fitzpatrick's passenger was transported by ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, and an infant in Fitzpatrick's car was also take to Saint Al's via air ambulance. All passengers were wearing seat belts, and the baby had been secured in a car seat.
Another crash near the Simco Road exit on I-84 involved 21-year-old Aaron Blackburn of Pocatello. Blackburn was driving a 1990 Buick Century near Simco Road when he struck the rear of a 2007 Kia Optima, then the side of a 2008 Toyota Prius. ISP reported none of the people involved in the accident were transported to a hospital.
In a third car crash, a 2006 Mitsubishi driven by David West, 26, of Twin Falls, was rear-ended by a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by 20-year-old Natasha Richey, of Mountain Home. Richey and her passenger were transported by ground ambulance to St. Al's. Lanes were partially blocked for two hours while crews cleared the scenes, and the accidents are now under investigation by ISP and the Elmore County Sheriff's Department.
Later, at around 10:10 p.m. on Friday, ISP were investigating a hit-and-run crash on I-84 near the Meridian exit. Police report 27-year-old Melissa Riley, of Caldwell, was driving a 2005 Saturn Ion eastbound near the on-ramp, when a dark-colored pickup attempted to merge onto the freeway and struck Riley's car multiple times before leaving the scene. Riley and her passengers, all minors, were wearing seatbelts and none were transported to the hospital.
Police reports describe the truck as possibly black with a crew cab, a lift and a chrome brush guard. The license plate may include "1P779." Anyone with information about the truck is urged to call ISP dispatch at 208-846-7500.
Then at around 11:30 p.m., ISP were again responding to an accident, this time at the intersection of State Highway 44 and Lansing Lane in Middleton, where an adult male riding a 2006 Yamaha YZ250 dirt bike collided with a 2006 Ford Mustang driven by 18-year-old Jonathan Kofoed, of Middleton. The driver of the motorcycle, who wasn't wearing a helmet, died at the scene. The name of the motorcyclist won't be released until the next of kin has been notified. Highway 44 was blocked for two-and-a-half hours following the accident.
The time from Memorial Day to Labor Day is known as the "100 deadliest days of summer" and in the past five years, 328 people were killed on Idaho's roads from late May to early September.
ISP and the Idaho Transportation Department want to remind drivers of the four main factors leading to serious injury and fatal crashes: driving distracted, driving impaired, excessive speed and not buckling up.
From your friends at Boise Weekly, please stay safe out there.