An 18-year-old Clayton, Wash., man died early Wednesday after his car ran off the road and smashed into several mailboxes.
William C. Palmer was driving his Volkswagen bug north on Atlas Road about 12:15 a.m., according to an Idaho State Police report.
Andrew S. Foland, 16, of Deer Park, was riding in the car with Palmer.
The two had been boating on Lake Coeur d’Alene earlier in the day, said Cpl. Douglas Orr. On their way back to Washington, the two teens decided to take back roads to avoid heavy traffic on Interstate 90.
Palmer drifted off Atlas Road as he headed toward Hayden Avenue. He hit a group of mailboxes which were supported by a long wooden board, according to the report.
The board “just kind of launched up the front of the car and into the windshield and hit the driver in the head,” Orr said. “He’d have driven away from it if there hadn’t been that board.”
Palmer suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Foland suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Although beer was found in the car, Orr said he does not believe Palmer had been drinking alcohol before driving. A breath test on Foland showed the 16-year-old also had not been drinking, Orr said.
Idaho State Police handled four other accidents over the Fourth of July weekend. All of them were alcohol-related, said Capt. Ralph Powell.
ISP officers also arrested 16 people suspected of drinking and driving and 14 people on drug charges during the weekend.
But Powell said the weekend was relatively quiet for the Fourth of July.
“The weather, I believe, kind of cooled things off and kind of put a curb on the drinking,” he said.
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