A Bonners Ferry woman and her 2-year-old son died Thursday afternoon in a four-truck crash on U.S. Highway 95 about one-half mile south of Silverwood Theme Park.
Three others were injured when a blue Ford pickup truck drifted across the center line about 12:50 p.m., glanced off an oncoming semi-truck and slammed head-on into another pickup, the Idaho State Police said.
The 2-year-old, Layton Jantz, was taken by ambulance to Kootenai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
His 6-year-old sister, Tyanne, was flown by helicopter to Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane. She was listed in serious condition, a nursing supervisor said.
Their mother, Vickie Sue Jantz, 29, died at the scene. She was also a passenger in the blue Ford driven by her husband, Lynn.
Lynn Jantz, 37, and the other pickup driver, Linda Mycek, 43, were taken to KMC, where they were listed in fair and serious condition, respectively, hospital spokesman Mike Regan said. Two others involved in the accident were not injured.
Witnesses and the ISP said Jantz overcorrected his vehicle after hitting the semi-truck, swerved in front of Mycek’s maroon Ford Ranger pickup and ended up on its side.
A southbound sliver Mitsubishi pickup, driven by Kristen Lehan, 22, of Sandpoint, tried to stop and wound up sliding into the tangle.
“According to one driver, the blue Ford just came across the center line like someone was asleep,” said ISP Sgt. C.R. Kaffenberger.
Lehan walked away from the accident shaken and complaining of a sore back. She was on her way to Spokane in her father’s Mitsubishi truck to pick him up when the accident happened.
“By the time the truck got half-way into our lane I thought maybe he’d pull it back,” Lehan said. “I saw the truck flip once. It was fast.”
Scott VanHees, 47, of Spokane, who was carrying a road roller on a flatbed trailer behind his Kenworth truck, also was not injured.
“I shuffled to the side as far as I could,” VanHees said. “He missed my tractor, but hit my trailer about halfway back.”
VanHees watched the accident unfold in his rear-view mirror, seeing only a “lot of dust.”
Several people in passing cars stopped to help the injured, concentrating their efforts on the blue Ford. They yanked out the cab’s rear window to get to the Jantz family.
“They just started pulling kids out and I grabbed them and took them,” said Mike Cuentas, a Post Falls man on his way home from vacation who stopped to help.
Cuentas’ wife, Lori, performed CPR on Layton Jantz while others helped his father, mother and sister.
Witnesses said Mycek, the driver of the maroon Ford, was conscious and appeared to have a serious leg injury. The truck’s steering wheel was pushed back to within about a foot of the driver’s seat.
Although the accident happened within sight of Silverwood, it was not clear if the park was the Jantz family’s destination.
An inner tube, two sleeping bags, ice chest, picnic basket and several towels were among the debris thrown from their truck.
The accident briefly closed Highway 95 and limited traffic to one lane for several hours.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo; Map of fatal accident site