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16YO Boy Dies From Crash Injuries

A 16-year Post Falls boy has died as a result of injuries he suffered in a three-vehicle crash at Northwest Boulevard and River Avenue in Coeur d'Alene Tuesday afternoon. The Idah State Police report that Quinn J. McKasty has succumbed to his injuries. He was the passenger in a 1996 Chevy Lumina, driven by Carolynn C. McKasty, 19, of Post Falls. While stopped at the intersection, McKasty's vehicle was rear-ended by a 2001 Chrysler, driven by Joseph M. Rupeka, 62, of East Freedom, Penn. The impact of that crash, according to the ISP, pushed the McKasty vehicle into the path of a 2013 Subaru Forester, driven by Carl George, 57, of Coeur d'Alene, which was turning onto Northwest Boulevard. The three drivers were taken to Kootenai Health with injuries. The crash is still under investigation.

H41 Crash Kills 19YO Oldtown Woman

A 19-year-old Oldtown woman was killed in a head-on crash north of Blanchard this morning that closed Highway 41 for five hours. According to ISP reports, Anna M. Hurst was northbound in a Ford Stratus attempting to pass another vehicle when she crashed head on into a 2008 Kenworth truck driven by Michael L. Radan, 41, of Newport, Wash. Radan was injured in the crash, which occurred at 8:02 this morning. Full ISP report here.

Remembering Jonathan Franco

Today is the first anniversary of the death of Rathdrum police officer Jonathan Franco, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in eastern Washington. In memory of her son, Elizabeth Yalian writes the following:

It’s been one year since my son’s Heavenly homecoming.  I have received many letters expressing how Jonathan Mathew Franco has impacted people’s lives. These have given me a deeper admiration towards the young man whose short life benefited many. Jonathan wanted to be in law enforcement since he was a small child when he became enamored with a pair of toy guns, holsters and a shiny, metal sheriff’s badge. “When I grow up I want to be a policeman!”  I can still hear the excitement in his small voice.  The desire persisted into his early teens until he began driving. “Why do the cops have it out for me, Mom?”  He questioned disgustedly.  “I have been pulled over seventeen times!  Seventeen times, Mom, seventeen!  I am not even doing anything wrong!”  He was pulled over several more times after that. Complete essay here.


Train-Car Crash Victim Identified

Kootenai County authorities have identified the woman killed when a train hit her vehicle on the railroad tracks at the BNSF crossing of Ramsey and Boekel, near Rathdrum, at about 7:40 this morning. Rebecca Birdsong, 22, of Rathdrum, was southbound when her vehicle was struck by a westbound train, according to a sheriff's news release. Train personnel said  the car had stopped for the posted stop sign at the train tracks, but the driver never looked either way prior to driving into the path of the train. The identity of the driver is being withheld pending positive identification and family notification. There is no indication that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision.

Another Ironman Dies During Swim

An athlete died Saturday while competing in the Ironman U.S. Championship's swim portion, organizers said.The competitor apparently "experienced distress" during the 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson River, which separates New York and New Jersey.The weekend triathlon is the first such championship in the New York metropolitan region."We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of an athlete at today's Aquadraat Sports Ironman U.S. Championship," said Emily Vicker, a spokeswoman for Rubenstein Communications, which represents the competition.The athlete was declared dead at a nearby hospital.Authorities say the cause of death is unknown; they are awaiting autopsy results/CNN. More here.

Question: Is the swim portion of Ironman too dangerous?

Driver Gets 10 Days In Double Fatal

The driver who chased three Coeur d'Alene teenagers preceding a fatal 2010 car accident near Twin Falls pleaded guilty to reckless driving Tuesday. Kade D. Laughlin, 21, of Filer (pictured), entered the plea in Fifth District Court in Twin Falls, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with 160 of those days suspended. Of the remaining 20 days, Laughlin must serve 10 in jail, and the other 10 days can be fulfilled through community service, said Grant Loebs, Twin Falls prosecutor. As part of his community service Laughlin will speak to youth about what happened Sept. 12, 2010, when Coeur d'Alene teenagers Devon Austin, 19, and Ryan Reinhardt, 18, died in a single-vehicle car accident around 1 a.m. on a rural road outside Twin Falls as they left a party at Laughlin's house/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. Twin Falls Times News/AP story here. (Mug shot courtesy of Twin Falls Times-News)

Question: Is a net effect of 10 days in jail an appropriate sentence for a reckless driver involved a chase that led to a double fatality?

Spirit Lake Man Killed In H41 Crash

A 33-year-old Spirit Lake man was killed early this morning when his 1995 BMW left Highway 41 at Mile Post 17 (near Nautical Loop Road), hit several trees, and burst into flames. Daniel M. Davis died from injuries suffered when he was ejected from the vehicle in the crash that occurred at 2:06 a.m. The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before first responders arrived. Davis wasn't wearing a seatbelt.  Investigation is pending by the Idaho State Police.

Services For Rathdrum Officer Today

Services and a funeral procession for Jonathan Franco, a Rathdrum police officer who died on Saturday in a motorcycle crash north of Newport, Wash., are today. The viewing will start at noon at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls and run until 1:30 p.m. The funeral will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. An Honor Guard will be present to post colors. A funeral procession of police vehicles will run from RLM, north on Highway 41 to Rathdrum's Pinegrove Cemetery where Franco will be buried/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

PM: Crash Kills Rathdrum Officer

An off-duty Rathdrum police officer was killed Saturday morning when his motorcycle was involved with a two vehicle accident four miles south of Cusick. Johnathon Franco, 27, had been with Rathdrum police since 2006 working as a patrol officer. Coeur d'Alene Press reported that Franco's motorcycle hit a Plymouth whose driver slowed for an injured deer in the road. Motorcycle debris from wreck struck a third vehicle. Spokane Valley-based photographers, Shmily Face Photography, spent time with him in May. More from Nicole Hensley, KXLY here. (Photo courtesy: Shmily Face Photography)

Fatal accident update

According to a Washington State Patrol press release, 29-year-old Teri M. Scheele of Spokane was driving the wrong way in the eastbound lanes of I-90 at Barker just after 3 a.m. when she hit a car head on. The driver of the car she hit, identified as 27-year-old Kenneth J. Hardin of Post Falls, was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital where he later died. Another driver was able to avoid being hit by Scheele, but ended up driving into the cable barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes to do it. Scheele was arrested for vehicular homicide, the press release said.

East I-90 closed at Barker Road

The eastbound lanes of I-90 are completely closed at Barker Road and a detour is in place. A three car accident was reported at 3:10 a.m. today and the road has been closed ever since. Initial reports from the Washington State Patrol is that someone may have been driving the wrong way on the freeway. One of the people involved has died.

Traffic is reportedly backed up in the area and I heard on the scanner a few minutes ago that the eastbound Sullivan on ramp was being closed to help relieve the traffic backup. I'll update with more information when I get it. 

7:53 a.m. udpate: It looks like the WSP re-opened the road as I was typing. It will probably take a bit to clear up the backlog of traffic, though.

CdA Woman Dies When Semi Runs Light

A Coeur d’Alene woman died this morning at Kootenai Medical Center after a car she was a passenger in hit a semi truck that ran a red light. Vivian Scott, 88, was in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Samuel R. Whitaker, 65. They were traveling south on U.S. 95 when the vehicle struck a semi. The semi, driven by Bill T. Haughton, 74, was eastbound on Highway 53/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Gritman Hospital CEO Dies In Crash

Holly Bowen/Moscow-Pullman Daily News tweet update: CEO Jeff Martin was ejected from his truck after it ran up an embankment on the side of Hwy 8. Not wearing seatbelt.

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Jeff Martin, our beloved friend and CEO and President of Gritman Medical Center has passed away. Jeff was killed in a car accident late last night near Elk River.  Jeff was well liked and respected throughout our community and we are devastated by this loss. He served as President and CEO of Gritman Medical Center since 1999/Gritman Medical Center public relations. More here.

Car Wreck Claims CdA Athlete Austin

Devon Austin is shown during a Coeur d’Alene High basketball practice in this Dec. 8, 2008, SR file photo. Austin and Ryan Reinhardt, both Coeur d’Alene teen-agers, were killed in a car crash near Twin Falls Sunday. Jessica Duran, a third teen-ager from Coeur d’Alene, was injured.

Devon Austin, the Gatorade Player of the Year for Idaho in baseball last spring, died in a car accident early Sunday morning, friends said. Austin was the passenger in a car driven by his friend, Ryan Reinhardt, when it failed to negotiate a curve about seven miles south of Twin Falls, friends said. Austin and Reinhardt both died. Both weren’t wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the car, friends said. Another passenger, Jessica Duran, Austin’s girlfriend, suffered minor injuries, friends said. Austin, a catcher, was attending College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls on a baseball scholarship. Austin is the grandson of Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Ron Edinger/Greg Lee. More here.

HBO Poll: Let Relay Race Continue

  • Monday Poll: 115 of 189 (61%) of the respondents said the Spokane-to-Sandpoint relay race should be allowed to continue in the future, despite the crashes this year that killed one participant and seriously injured two others. 60 of 189 (32%) said the race should be stopped. 14 of 189 (7%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Question: Was Gov. Butch Otter right in allowing PhillipsConoco to ship huge refinery equipment through the Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon?

Spokane-to-Sandpoint Relay To Go On

Item: Despite death, Spokane to Sandpoint race will continue: Planners say crash wasn’t preventable/Mike Prager, SR

More Info: Glidden said the relay run should continue despite Saturday’s death. He noted other events that have been marred by crime, such as the shooting incident at this year’s Hoopfest in Spokane. “To cancel it, that’s ridiculous,” he said. Orth said the relay will continue in future years.

Question: Would you be hesitant to participate in the Spokane-to-Sandpoint relay, as a result of the two serious accidents this year, including the fatality Saturday?

Should 185-Mile Relay Race Continue?

Two Berry Pickers — Keith Erickson (and his daughters) and Dan @ Avista — participated in that Spokane-to-Sandpoint relay race of 185 miles that included Coeur d’Alene’s City Park and the east end of the Centennial Trail on the North Shore. As Mrs. O & I walked along the waterfront Friday evening, we encountered relay runners jogging around the college and out to Higgens Point. Some were already wearing lights to make them visible to motorists as they prepared to run north to Sandpoint. I thought they were crazy to run along busy, dark roads in the middle of the night. A woman had been hit by a vehicle that morning on the Newport Highway. On Saturday morning, of course, we learned of the tragic accident in which a Spokane County bicyclist was killed and her running mate injured on Highway 41, near Blanchard. So here’s the question:

Question: Given the 2 serious accidents involving participants, is it wise to continue the Spokane-to-Sandpoint race in future years?

Participant Dies In 2nd Relay Accident

ISP says the driver appears to have crossed the center line (about 6:30 a.m. on Highway 41 near Blanchard), and hit a cyclist and then a runner next to her, who were taking part in the Spokane to Sandpoint race. The cyclist, 46-year-old Patti Lambi, was airlifted to Kootenai Medical Center, where she later died. The runner, a 17-year-old girl, was taken to the hospital with multiple fractures, but has since been released. Both people are from Spokane Valley.The driver who caused the crash is 31-year-old Bowdeen S. Kahuhu from Newport. She was arrested and booked into the Bonner County Jail on Vehicular Manslaughter charges/Ben Leighton, KXLY. More here.

St. Maries Man Killed In H3 Rollover

A 63YO St. Maries man died in a single-car rollover Tuesday morning on Highway 3, according to the Idaho State Police. Leo G. Munden was killed at 11:17 a.m. when he failed to negotiate a curve in his 1968 Nissan pickup @ M/P 65 and traveled 452 feet and struck a group of trees. The vehicle rolled partially ejecting Munden.  Munden was declared dead at the scene. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Munden was the only occupant in the vehicle.  Investigation continues.

Sagle 2YO Girl Dies In H200 Crash

A 2-year-old Sagle girl was killed and a 5-year-old boy was injured in a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 200 @ M/P 38 (near Pack River) at 1:40 p.m. Sunday, according to the Idaho State Police. Katlyn Price died when Ashlee Price, 18, of Sagle, traveling eastbount in a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, drove off the north shoulder of the roadway, over corrected and overturned in the roadway. The vehicle then rolled down a steep embankment on the north shoulder. The vehicle came to rest on it’s roof in approximately 4 feet of water. The driver was ejected from the vehicle. Citizens passing by stopped and turned the vehicle onto it’s drivers side and pulled Katlyn Price and Tyson Ruel out of the vehicle. Driver Ashlee Price and Tyson Ruel were taken to Bonner General Hospital. The ISP is still investigating the accident.

Post Falls Man Dies In Forest ATV Crash

A 29-year-old Post Falls man was killed this afternoon when he failed to negotiate a left curve on Forest Service Road No. 413 in the woods bordering the Kootenai-Shoshone County line. According to a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department report, Vito E. Pistone was dead by the time responders arrived. The crash, which occurred at approximately 4:50 p.m., was located on Forest Service Road No. 413, about 8/10ths of a mile east of FS Road No. 209.  Preliminary investigation by the Kootenai County Traffic Team indicates that Pistone failed to negotiate a left curve while travelling eastbound on FSR No. 413, left the roadway and struck at least two trees.  Pistone was not wearing a helmet.  It is also believed that Pistone was inexperienced in ATV operation. It does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

CdA Man ID’d As ATV Crash Victim

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is able to release more details and the name of the victim in the fatality accident yesterday near the top of Fourth of July Pass. Killed in the single ATV crash was Cleo B. “Bud” Dodge, 74, of Coeur d’Alene. Dodge and three of his friends were in route back to the recreational parking area at the Fourth of July Pass Summit on Trail 800 when Dodge, who was the second of the four ATV’s, failed to negotiate the route around the Forest Service gate and crashed into the gate post.  Dodge was pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center from massive chest injuries. It is believed that due to dust in the air from the first machine as well as Dodge’s speed, he was unable to see the gate in time to make the course adjustment that led to the crash/Major Ben Wolfinger, KCSD.

Tribe Member Jailed In Fatal Crash

A man who has survived three one-car crashes on the same road near Plummer, Idaho, is in federal custody on a manslaughter charge for crash last summer. Joseph Michael Matt, Jr., a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, was charged in connection with an Aug. 18 crash on Lovell Valley Road in Benewah County that killed William “Sonny” A. Davison, 22, of Desmet. Davison died after the 1997 Jeep Cherokee Matt was driving left the road and vaulted nearly 250 feet, taking off the tops of two trees/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Post Falls Driver Dies In H395 Crash

A Post Falls man died early this morning after falling asleep while driving and rolling his truck on Highway 395. Michael Halterman, 39, rolled his Ford F250 several times about 20 miles south of Ritzville. Halterman, who was wearing his seatbelt, died at the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol. No other vehicles were involved/Asia Hege, SR.

Names Released In Fatal CdA Crash

Justin M. Allen, 20, of Coeur d’Alene, was killed and his passenger Garrett J. Kienke, 20, of Post Falls was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash at 9th & Lakeside at 7:21 p.m. Monday. According to the Idaho State Police, the two men were westbound on a 2005 Suzuki when the driver lost control while approaching and braking for northbound traffic at the 9th Street intersection. Both occupants were ejected and came to rest in the intersection. INeither man was wearing a helmet. ISP is continuing the Investigation.

Downtown CdA Crash Kills Motorcyclist

Authorities are on scene of a fatal motorcycle accident at 9th and Lakeside in downtown Coeur d’ Alene. One person is confirmed dead and another is in critical condition at a local hospital. KHQ’s Kevin Randall was first on scene and will bring you the latest when we receive it. The crash occurred about 8 p.m. when the motorcycle’s brakes locked, according to initial reports/KHQ.

4YO Girl Dies In Horrible Accident

A 4-year-old girl was killed in a horrible accident after she fell and was wedged between the tire and the mudflap of her father’s semi truck Sunday afternoon. EMTs responded to 5885 S. Wolf Lodge Creek Road at about 6 o’clock. They found that Steven Wilson had extricated his daughter, Julie, from under the truck.  Investigators decided that Julie had apparently climbed on the back of the semi-tractor, unknown to Steven, as he was leaving their residence to take the tractor to a shop for maintenance.  Somewhere during the seven-tenths of a mile trip, Julie fell and was caught between the tires and mud flap assembly.  When Steven arrived at the shop he found Julie wedged between the front set of dual wheels and the front mud flap. Julie was pronounced dead at the scene due to massive head trauma.  Sheriff’s investigators have determined that this is nothing greater than a tragic accident.

KXLY: Hauser Area Crash Kills 1

Idaho State Police says at least one person has died in a crash at Highway 53 and McGuire Road. The crash happened at about 9:00 Friday night. Troopers say a man in his 30’s was driving east on Highway 53 in a red sedan when he crossed the center-line and slammed head-on into a pickup truck carrying a man and a woman in their 60’s. The man in the sedan was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers say the two victims in the truck were cut from the vehicle and taken to Kootenai Medical Center by ambulance. Investigators say neither of them were wearing their seatbelts/KXLY. More here.

ISP: Vehicle Hits, Kills Desmet Man

A 22-year-old Tensed man was killed this morning as he was walking along Desmet Road at Ajot Road when he was struck by a vehicle at the crest of a hill. Patrick A. Gourneau was pronounced dead at the scene after he was hit by an eastbound vehicle driven by Andrea George, 18, of Desmet, at 5:56 a.m.. George was taken by Life Flight to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. Ashley Justice, 20, of Desmet, a passenger in the George vehicle, wasn’t injured. According to an Idaho State Police report, alcohol was involved in the accident. ISP report here.

Surviving Couple Praises Seatbelts

Idaho State Police say seat belts could have saved the lives of a father and son who were killed Tuesday in a head-on crash along Highway 95 near Cocolalla. That crash took the lives of 67-year-old Norm Flom and his 35-year-old son Jason. “I broke my left femur that’s all for now, I fractured my right foot,” Denise Viney said from her hospital bed Wednesday. Denise and her husband Tom were driving north to Bonners Ferry when the ISP says that Norm Flom’s truck crossed the centerline/KXLY. More here.

Question: How often do you wear your seatbelts?