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Contest canceled after 3,000 prize-bearing pingpong balls land - oops - on freeway

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BLACKFOOT, Idaho (AP) — Organizers of a southeastern Idaho aerial drop of 3,000 pingpong balls worth prizes immediately called off the event when the pilot missed the crowd and hit instead a nearby interstate highway. Aaron Moon and helpers on Saturday told revelers at Blackfoot Pride Days not to risk retrieving the pingpong balls amid high-speed traffic because organizes still planned to pass out prizes. Most of the pingpong balls can be exchanged for candy, but some are worth gift certificates up to $100. Moon says a new pilot attempted the drop this year but apparently didn't understand that pingpong balls lose speed quickly and drop straight down. Blackfoot Police Chief Kurt Asmus tells the Idaho State Journal (http://bit.ly/SxHTxs) that no charges are planned, but police plan to work with organizers next year.

Rafter dies after boat flips on Salmon River

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: RIGGINS, Idaho (AP) — Three of four rafters flipped into the Salmon River at Lake Creek Rapids made it back to the boat but a fourth rafter swept downstream died. The Idaho County Sheriff's Office says boaters on Tuesday pulled the man from the water just before noon about a mile downstream from the rapids and began CPR. Emergency responders continued CPR while transporting him to a medical helicopter in Riggins, but he was pronounced dead then they arrived. Authorities say the man wasn't wearing a life vest and was on a private rafting trip. His name hasn't been released.

Child killed, four injured in Kuna school bus crash this morning

Tragic news from the roads this morning, as one child has been killed and four injured when a dump truck crashed into a school bus in Canyon County this morning headed for a Kuna elementary school. The AP reports that 12 children in the sixth grade or younger were on the bus bound for Crimson Point Elementary School; an 11-year-old boy died. Idaho State Police Sgt. John Burke said it's too early to determine what went wrong. “It's a horrible … it's a terrible thing,” Burke told the AP. “The family (of the deceased child) is devastated. They need our prayers and all we can do is hope they can get through it.” Click below for the full report from the AP.

Officer cited for wrong-way crash

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Boise police officer has been cited for causing a crash at a downtown intersection while he was responding to another officer's call for backup. Garden City Police investigated the July 9 crash and found that Officer Nicolas Ellis did not yield to traffic already in an intersection and struck an SUV driven by Robert McCarthy of Boise. McCarthy and his wife, Fredrikka, sustained minor injuries. They were treated at a Boise hospital and released. Ellis was traveling southbound on a northbound one-way street at the time of the collision. He was cited for failing to stop when traffic is obstructed. The citation carries a $90 fine. Boise police will continue an internal investigation to determine if Ellis followed department policies and procedures in responding to the call.

BPD: Three injured in squad car wrong-way crash in downtown Boise

The Boise Police have sent out a news release about this morning’s crash of a patrol car into an SUV in downtown Boise, while the squad car was traveling to an emergency call going the wrong way on 13th Street, smashing into the SUV as it crossed 13th on Idaho Street. Both the officer and the two occupants of the SUV were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation of injuries, the BPD reports, and all three were treated and released.

“The officer was traveling south on a north-bound one-way street, which is something normally reserved for emergency responses,” said Boise Deputy Chief William Bones. “Investigators do believe the officer was responding with his lights and siren to an urgent call for help from another officer. However, the officer's response and all the circumstances surrounding this crash will be part of the investigation being led by Garden City. Our first focus is for the safety of our community and officers.”

The call came from another officer at 13th and Myrtle streets, who radioed that he was involved in an “altercation with other individuals and was in need of officer assistance,” the BPD news release says. “A call from an officer for urgent help usually is ‘Code 3’ response, meaning officers respond with lights and siren in an emergency fashion.” You can read the Police Department’s full release here; it says the Garden City Police Department is investigating the crash, and Boise Police crash reconstruction experts are conducting a parallel investigation. The BPD Office of Internal Affairs also is investigating “to determine if policies, training and procedure were followed by the involved officer.”

Report: Police car going wrong way crashes into SUV in downtown Boise

KTVB-TV is reporting that a Boise Police squad car going the wrong way on 13th Street downtown crashed into an SUV this morning, knocking the vehicle into a parking lot; the police car had its lights flashing at the time, a witness told the TV station, but no siren. The SUV was westbound on Idaho Street and reportedly had a green light when the police car crashed into it; you can see KTVB’s full report here, including photos.

Lawmaker’s son accidentally wounds wife with hunting rifle

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― Authorities in eastern Idaho say the son of a Democratic state lawmaker shot his wife accidentally with a rifle following a day of hunting. The Idaho Falls Post-Register (http://tinyurl.com/aecvczc ) reports that 31-year-old Ian Malepeai and his wife, Hailey Hodges, of Irwin, had been hunting Monday. Malepeai is one of three children of Idaho Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai of Pocatello, who is retiring from the Idaho Legislature this year. According to sheriff's reports, Ian Malepeai was removing a 7 mm rifle from his pickup truck just after 7 p.m. when it discharged, sending a bullet into her buttocks. Bonneville county Sheriff's deputies say Hodges, who is also 31, was transported to a hospital in the region. After treatment, she's reported to be in stable condition.

Silver Mountain gondola rider climbs out window, plummets to his death

A 26-year-old man riding the Silver Mountain gondola over the weekend climbed out of a window and plummeted 85 feet to his death, authorities report, landing in steep, rocky terrain; his companion repeatedly entreated him to climb back inside, but he wouldn't. You can read more here at spokesman.com.

Pocatello man survives car crash, grass fire, and being hit by truck

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― An Idaho man who was able to escape a fiery car crash suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was struck by a semitrailer as he tried to flag down help. The Idaho State Police says 37-year-old Patrick Grimm of Pocatello was eastbound on Interstate 84 east of Boise at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday when he fell asleep at the wheel. His car went off the road, through a fence and came to rest about 300 yards off the road, starting a fire that burned about 10 acres. Grimm escaped the car and returned to the interstate where he tried to flag down help and was struck by a semitrailer. The ISP says Grimm was taken to a Boise hospital by air ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

ITD says megaload shipments can resume

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Transportation Department has approved a plan allowing large loads of Imperial Oil equipment to resume travel on the state's highways. The megaloads were suspended Dec. 6 after a driver tried to leave a staging area on U.S. 95 near Moscow and the equipment hit a passenger van. The truck driver was cited for inattentive driving. ITD said Wednesday it approved a plan to allow the shipments to resume. Two loads were to leave the Port of Lewiston after 8 p.m. Wednesday. A third module north of Moscow was to resume its travel Wednesday night, as well. The oversized shipments of components for a processing plant at the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada were to stop at a parking area east of Coeur d'Alene before entering Montana.

Megaload driver cited after crash; loads still suspended

Here's a news item from the Associated Press and Lewiston Tribune: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The driver of a large load of oil refinery equipment that struck and damaged a van in northern Idaho has been cited for inattentive driving. The collision on Dec. 6 near Moscow led the Idaho Transportation Department to suspend shipments of Imperial Oil equipment to an oil sands project in Canada. ITD spokesman Adam Rush said the agency is awaiting an internal report from the hauling company, Mammoet, before the license will be considered for reinstatement. The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/v5ii7P) the Idaho State Police cited driver Vladimir Purgar of Calgary, Alberta after an investigation. Van owner James Urquidez says he ducked when he saw the equipment was going to hit his van. He says his side window broke from the pressure and his windshield was crushed.

Monday was crash day

Monday was apparently a day for car crashes caused by drivers who pulled out in front of people. Yesterday at 2:35 p.m. an teenage girl pulled out in front of a police car at the Spokane Valley Police Precinct on East Sprague, causing a police sergeant to hit the girl's car broadside, according to a press release from Detective Dave Thornburg. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details on her blog here.

A bit later at around 3 p.m. a 46-year-old Spokane woman was heading north on Progress and was attempting to cross Broadway. She pulled out in front of a Honda scooter being driven by 75-year-old Charles Spurgeon of Spokane Valley. His scooter struck the side of the car driven by Kristin Melton. Spurgeon was wearing a helmet, but had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital, Thornburg wrote. An investigation is ongoing.

Woo-hoo weekend alert

I really, really hope I'm wrong.

But I have a feeling there is going to be a bad accident in our area involving watercraft and beer this weekend. 

Freeway a sheet of ice

That rain falling out there has turned I-90 and most other roads into a sheet of ice. On my way into the office most people were being sensible and driving slowly, except one man who zipped who past me in the left lane. A few seconds later he was sliding sideways across four lanes of traffic, narrowly missing several cars. He only stopped, facing the wrong way, when he hit the concrete barrier that marks the edge of that section of freeway.

I saw numerous cars on the side of the freeway that were sideways or facing the wrong way. The DOT freeway cameras show numerous blockages, including a sideways semi near Park Road. Since I got in the office the scanner has had a continuous stream of accidents and slide offs. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has even put out a press release asking people not to drive right now. Everyone please be very careful out there.

11:30 a.m. update: The scanner has calmed down considerably and things seem to be getting better out there. The Washington State Patrol is reporting that they responded to 45 accidents between 7:45 and 9:45 a.m. in Spokane and Lincoln Counties.

Slip sliding away

A state trooper checks out a slide off in the median near Barker Road this morning on I-90. Snow was falling heavily in North Idaho and eastern Spokane Valley Thursday morning. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There have been a steady stream of accidents all day on the scanner. Even though the dusting of snow doesn't look like much, it is proving to be quite slippery. There have been numerous accidents on the freeway, a car plowed into a fence this morning at 32nd and Pierce and earlier someone slipped and fell on the ice at Fourth and Bowdish and broke a kneecap. Everyone use extra caution out there.

Police: Clear your windshield

Not only is it illegal to fail to clear the frost from your windshield before driving, not doing so caused an accident this morning in which a woman in a crosswalk was hit. The Boise Police report that they were called to a collision at 7:30 a.m. today at Front Street and Broadway, where a woman in her 50s who was crossing with a green light as she walked home from work was struck by a male driver in his 50s who was making a right turn from Broadway onto Front and didn't see her - because his “vehicle's windshield was heavily obstructed by an icy frost.” The woman was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries including facial lacerations; the man was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, plus driving with an obstructed windshield.

Here's what the law says on clearing car windows: “No vehicle shall be operated when the windshield and/or windows of the vehicle are coated with ice, snow, sleet, or dust to the extent that the driver’s view ahead, or to the sides or rear of the vehicle are obstructed.”

Dad jailed after sled crash hurts children

A Spokane man is in jail after two children he was towing on a sled behind an ATV slammed into a parked police car, sending the kids to the hospital.

Police say Ramon D. Noggles, 33, was under the influence of alcohol when the collision happened just before 8 p.m. Wednesday in the 3600 block of E. Pratt.

His wife, Kathy Kosloski, called the crash a “freak accident.”

“He would never intentionally hurt any kids,” Kosloski said today. “He’s just a dad trying to have fun with his kids.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Roads are slipping

The scanner is beginning to hum with a steady stream of accidents caused by the weather, so be careful out there. Sullivan Road near the freeway is currently backed up because of a truck on fire. Drive safely!

2:47 p.m. update: Bigelow Gulch Road sounds particularly bad. A deputy said he has cars all over the ditch up there. It would probably be a good idea to avoid that area.

3:37 p.m. update: It tooks like northbound traffic on Argonne Road is completely shut down just north of Upriver Drive. There have been multiple accidents on the hill.

Now That’s Ironic…

Get this: While a group of Tokyo firefighters were out on a call, one of their colleagues was back at the station making Dinner for everyone. Well, the guy also got called out shortly after his buddies left, and in the process, he forgot to turn off the stove. Yup. The Station burned to the ground. Read this Yahoo Article here.

I don’t really have a question for this one, other than: Does anyone besides me think this is rather ironic?