Officers investigating a high-speed motorcycle accident that killed two Post Falls residents said Thursday the driver had been drinking before the crash.
Corey L. Smith, 33, who had a previous drunken driving conviction, died less than a half mile from his Mullan Avenue home. Passenger Melissa “Lisa” Eileen Coy, 32, also died as a result of the 9:15 p.m. crash Wednesday on Polston Avenue.
The Idaho State Police said “alcohol played a major factor in the accident.”
Court records show Smith had a record of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced in February 1996 to 30 days in jail, placed on probation for a year and fined $500 following a drunken driving conviction in Kootenai County. All but two days of the jail sentence were suspended.
Late Wednesday, Smith lost control of the 1981 Yamaha motorcycle he and Coy were riding on and it slammed into a concrete curb surrounding a grassy median, the ISP said. The impact threw both from the motorcycle.
Neither was wearing a helmet, police said.
Teenagers who witnessed the accident and students in a nearby CPR class rushed to help Smith and Coy, covering both with blankets until paramedics arrived.
A teenager who was not in the class, but knew CPR, helped Pat Hubof open an airway in Smith’s throat while others attended to Coy. Hubof was teaching an infant and child CPR class at the Kootenai Medical Health Park when the accident occurred south of the building.
Hubof said her students were about to take a test.
“What I kind of emphasized when I went back to class was that you never know when you have to use CPR,” said Hubof, who herself used CPR for the first time while trying to help Smith.
Friends of the victims said Smith and Coy, who had dated off and on for about a year, were on their way to Smith’s house. Witnesses told police the motorcycle was traveling about 80 mph when Smith lost control.
“Joyriding is what I call it,” said Theresa Frantz, Coy’s best friend since grade school.
Smith died at the scene, the ISP said. Coy - who was separated from her husband and has a son and three daughters - was pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene.
Thursday, Smith’s parents said they had more questions than answers about what caused the accident.
“I can tell you very little,” said Bart Smith, who was in Seattle when the accident occurred. “We really don’t know.”
Frantz said she met Smith and Coy at Bob’s 21 Club five hours before the accident, and neither seemed drunk when she left them. The three talked and drank at the bar for about an hour after Smith had changed a flat tire on Coy’s car, Frantz said.
“He didn’t even finish his second drink,” Frantz said.
Beverly Smith said her son, himself the father of two boys and a girl, had been watching how much he drank since last year’s drunken driving conviction.
“He’s had problems with his drinking on and off,” she said softly. “He seemed to be a lot better lately.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo