Friday, August 3, 2012

4 injured in rush-hour crashes

Police blame accidents on ‘following too closely’

Express Staff Writer

Four people were treated and released at St. Luke's Wood River following two separate rush-hour chain-reaction accidents Wednesday morning on state Highway 75 just south of its intersection with Elkhorn Road.

Eight vehicles were involved in the accidents, three in the first one at about 8:35 a.m. and five in the second, which occurred in the same area about five minutes later.

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said there was no alcohol involved in either crash, nor was there construction under way in the area. He said both accidents were likely caused by motorists following too closely and that second accident may have been partly caused by drivers distracted by the vehicles involved in the first crash.

All eight vehicles were northbound. Ramsey said drivers were stopping for the red light at the Elkhorn Road intersection but that some didn't stop soon enough.

In the first accident, Ramsey said a white 2001 Ford F-250 pickup, driven by Benjamin Stahl, 34, of Hailey, stuck the rear end of a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Noemi Valerio, 34, of Shoshone. The Valerio vehicle was then pushed into the rear end of a white 2008 Landrover driven by Holly Smart, 33, of Hailey.

Ramsey said all three vehicles pulled to the side of the road and waited for police and emergency responders to arrive. Valerio and Smart were later transported by ambulance to St. Luke's.

The second accident occurred before police and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Ramsey said the chain-reaction accident started when a 1994 Chevrolet pickup, driven by Manual Moya, 38, of Bellevue, collided with a 1993 GMC Sierra pickup pulling a flatbed trailer and driven by Tad Barker, 25, of Gannett. A 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser, driven by Brian Perry, 21, of Hailey, then hit the Moya pickup and a 2001 Subaru driven by Kirsten Lemma, 43, of Hailey, then hit the Perry vehicle. Finally, a 2005 Volvo, driven by Serena Chin, 48, of Hailey, collided with the Lemma car.

Ramsey said Perry and Abel Reveles Aguayo, 24, of Hailey, a passenger in the Moya vehicle, sustained minor injuries and were transported to St. Luke's.

The accidents delayed northbound traffic for about 45 minutes.

Ramsey said citations are likely to be issued.

"It's still under investigation and we're still sorting through it," he said.

Terry Smith:

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