Friday, June 23, 2006

'Bizarre' accident injures former Hailey resident

Ian Reed was snowbound in car for four days last winter

Express Staff Writer

Emergency personnel tend to Ian Reed, a former Hailey resident, following an accident late Tuesday afternoon west of Fairfield. The vehicle he was driving, barely recognizable as a Suburu station wagon, was the car Reed was snowbound in for four days last winter. Photo courtesy of Ben Burk

Ian Reed, a 21-year-old former Hailey resident who survived four days last December in his snowbound Suburu station wagon, crashed the ill-fated vehicle into a semi truck late Tuesday afternoon, shortly after he retrieved the car from where it had been stuck in the mountains west of Atlanta.

Reed was transported from the scene of the accident west of Fairfield to a Boise hospital by an Air St. Luke's helicopter, according to Idaho State Police.

Ben Burk, a Hailey man who arrived at the scene within a few minutes of the accident, said Reed suffered a compound fracture of his left thigh. Burk, who works at Les Schwab Tire Center in Hailey, is a former U.S. Air Force emergency medical technician.

According to Idaho State Police, Reed, who now lives in Bliss, collided with a semi truck shortly after 4:30 p.m. on U.S. 20, about five miles west of the border between Camas and Elmore counties. The driver of the truck was identified as Isidro Almarez, 47, of Nampa. Additional information was not available from police Thursday afternoon.

Burk said he spoke with Reed's father, James Reed, of Hailey, and was told that James and Ian Reed retrieved the vehicle from the mountains earlier that day and were taking it to Les Schwab Tire Center in Hailey.

Burk said Ian Reed was following his father westbound when the accident occurred. He said Ian Reed hit the semi truck head on.

The Idaho Mountain Express was unable to confirm that information with Idaho State Police, which is still investigating the accident.

Ian Reed was trapped in the Suburu for four days last winter after he tried to take a shortcut from Boise to Hailey by way of mountain roads. The vehicle became snowbound on Nov. 28 on Roaring River Road west of Atlanta.

He was rescued on Dec. 2 by an Idaho National Guard helicopter from Boise.

Reed said at the time that he used survival skills taught to him by his father to stay alive while stranded in the mountains.

"He was stranded for four days and then he gets into a car accident when he's bringing the car home," said Burk. "That's kind of bizarre."

Burk said he arrived at the scene within five minutes of the accident and tried to help extricate Reed from the vehicle while James Reed comforted his son inside the car.

Ultimately, emergency personnel had to cut the top from the Suburu to remove Ian Reed from the vehicle.

Burk said he came upon the accident while on his way to Boise to see his grandmother, who suffered a heart attack Tuesday morning and was transported by helicopter from Challis. He said his grandmother unfortunately died Wednesday morning.

"It was really odd—a really odd day," Burk said. "I'm not taking any risks right now, that's for sure."

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