Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Police: ‘Unsafe turn’ caused fatal crash

Accident claimed life of Carey student

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has determined that a fatal crash last month that claimed the life of a Carey School sophomore was caused when the student was making an "illegal unsafe turn" in a driver education vehicle on U.S. Highway 20 about two miles west of Timmerman Junction.

"They were turning around on the highway," sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said.

The accident on the morning of Oct. 26 led to the death of 15-year-old Austin Hennefer, who police reported was driving the 1996 Buick Century driver education car when it was struck by a 1993 Honda Accord driven by Sergio Lopez-Rodriguez, 45, of Gooding.

Davis said both vehicles were westbound. He said Lopez-Rodriguez tried to stop when he saw the driver education vehicle in the roadway, but slid on ice into the other car.

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Lopez-Rodriguez, another Carey student in the Buick, 15-year-old Jennifer Mares, and driver education teacher Jeff Mecham, 41, were seriously injured and transferred by air ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. All three have since been released.

As of Tuesday, no citations had been issued, but Davis said the accident is being investigated.

"It's been sent to the prosecutor for legal review," he said Monday.

Terry Smith:

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