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Crash, gas leak closed North Idaho highway

Thu., Oct. 14, 2010, 8:13 a.m.

U.S. Highway 95 south of the Spokane River bridge in Coeur d’Alene was closed for more than two hours on Wednesday evening following a one-vehicle crash.

A Coeur d’Alene woman is under investigation for driving under the influence and losing control of her vehicle, which struck an Avista Utilities natural gas regulatory station.

Pipes were moved about six inches, and a line was broken, causing closure of the highway and an evacuation of the surrounding area just south of Blackwell Island, according to Idaho State Police.

Frances C. Coffey, 50, was headed north in a 1992 Ford Explorer when she drifted off of the east shoulder and struck a guardrail. She then swerved to the left and went off the west side of the highway, traveling another 40 yards where she side-swiped a tree.

Her vehicle continued moving, striking the fenced enclosure for the gas facility.

Avista workers repaired the damage so the highway could reopen.

Police said alcohol was believed to be a factor in the accident.

Coffey was taken to Kootenai Medical Center for treatment and released.

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