Friday, August 12, 2011

Final Release - NB Lanes open, I-15 Near Malad Summit

IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE - generated by our News Release ListServer

Idaho State Police
Region 5 5205 South 5th Ave.
Pocatello, Idaho 83204-2299
(208) 236-6466 FAX: (208) 236-6068

For Immediate Release: 08/13/11 12:00 AM
Contact: Sgt. Winans

Shortly after 12:00 PM on Friday, August 12th, 2011, the Idaho State Police investigated an injury Crash in Oneida County. Traffic is now flowing in both directions after I15 was blocked for several hours near milepost 22, 3 miles south of the Oneida County/Bannock County border. Complicating matters was the fact that a secondary crash occurred on the route where traffic was diverted, resulting in complete blockage for several hours with no viable detour.

David Eliason, age 56 of Malad was traveling southbound on I15 at milepost 22 in a Chevrolet tanker truck which was loaded with approximately 26,000 pounds of propane. The drivers' side tire blew out on the truck, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and sideswipe a Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Robert Stites, age 69 of Pocatello. Stites went off the road, and Eliason struck the guardrail and rolled, damaging the propane tank, which then began to leak. Traffic for both northbound and southbound travel was diverted to the frontage road. After this, shortly before 4:00 PM, a semi truck and trailer driven by Ricky Kaita, age 51 of El Dorado Hills, CA was southbound on the frontage road at Devil's Creek, following the detour. Kaita encountered a sharp curve and did not make a wide enough turn. His vehicle slipped off the roadway and both truck and trailer overturned, partially blocking the roadway. As a result, traffic was completely blocked for more than 3 hours while Kaita's vehicle was removed from the travel lane.

The initial vehicle took much longer to remove for safety reasons. Due to the large amount of propane, crews attempted to offload the gas while the vehicle was still overturned in order to minimize the danger of fire or explosion. When this was unsuccessful, they were forced to carefully upright the loaded tank trailer before offloading the product so that it could be safely transported. Traffic on I15 was blocked for more than 10 hours.

Eliason was transported to Oneida County Hospital before being taken to Logan Regional in Logan,UT. It is unknown if he was wearing his seatbelt. Stites was wearing his seatbelt and was uninjured. Kaita was uninjured as well, and it is unknown if he was wearing his seatbelt. Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in either crash. The initial crash is under investigation by Sgt. Winans with assistance from Commercial Vehicle Specialist Williams, Sgts Manning and Rausch, Corporal Noyes, and Troopers Orr and C. Bake, as well as Oneida County Deputies and Paramedics. The second crash was investigated by Trooper Law, with assistance from Troopers Orr and Christiansen. The Idaho Transportation Department also assisted with traffic control.

Contact: ISP Dispatch

*******First Update*******

The northbound lanes are now open. Southbound lanes are still blocked but should be opening within the hour. More information will be released as soon as it is available.

Original release:

Due to a two-vehicle crash, southbound Interstate 15 near Malad Summit, all lanes of the interstate are closed from mile marker 17 - 22. Northbound traffic is being diverted off at exit 17. Please avoid this area if at all possible. Further information will be released as it becomes available.