It may be a few months before Idaho State Police can determine what factors led to the deadly chain-reaction crash on U.S. Highway 95, involving four tractor-trailers and two cars, that left one truck driver dead and two other drivers injured.
Truck Driver James M. Mady, 40, of Creswell, OR, died after the car driven by Zachary Henager went left of center and struck another tractor-trailer, driven by Richard D. Walston, 58, of Colville, WA. The impact of the crash forced Walston to lose control, striking Mady’s rig head on.
Cpl. Allen Ashby of the state police told Land Line on Tuesday, Jan. 24, that the investigation is still ongoing in the multi-vehicle crash that occurred around 8:40 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, near Cocolalla Creek, ID.
“At this point, speeds for all vehicles involved have not yet been conclusively determined. And it may be a few months or longer before that happens due to the nature of the crash,” Ashby said.
Once his investigation is completed, he will forward it on to an accident reconstructionist who will “attempt to determine the physics, including pre-collision speeds, of all vehicles involved.”
The driver of the third tractor-trailer, Brian M. Fendos, 39, of Bonners Ferry, ID, took “evasive measures to miss Henager as he went off the southbound shoulder” and struck the driver of the fourth truck, Pavlo P. Shevchuk, 21, of Manitoba, Canada, who was northbound on U.S. 95.
The driver of the sixth vehicle, Roger C. House, 45, of Post Falls, ID, who was northbound, swerved to miss Shevchuk and drove into the ditch.
The accident closed U.S. 95 for more than 11 hours, according to the state police report.
Henager was airlifted to the Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and Walston was airlifted to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, WA. Henager remains in critical condition, while Walston’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious.
Mady was driving a 2006 Freightliner and was hauling a load of peat moss, while Walston was driving a 2012 Mack with an empty flatbed trailer.
Ashby said both semis involved in the head-on collision “were completely destroyed beyond recognition and ‘broken apart.’”
“Wrecker crews were essentially able to lift both cabs off the frames of both trucks as neither the cabs, engines or drive trains were attached or recognizable any longer,” he said.
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