ITD employees help prevent further tragedy in crash
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The following is a news release from Idaho Transportation Department.
IDAHO FALLS – Wrangling pigs and responding to crashes: an unlikely combination. But that’s exactly how the day played out for Idaho Transportation Department employees Devin Weaver and David Nickel.
Early in the afternoon of May 21, a Jeep driving southbound with an attached trailer changed lanes right in front of a semi near the Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho. As the semi struck the Jeep’s trailer (with a special barnyard passenger inside) and sent it over the guardrail, the torque from the flying trailer lifted the Jeep up and onto its side as well. Weaver and Nickel saw it go airborne and immediately went to the crash site to render aid.
“I saw it go up in the air, roll over the guardrail at the top of the bridge and then plummet off to the west side and come to a rest,” recalls Weaver.
After activating his emergency lights, Weaver proceeded to the accident scene and saw a man lying unconscious under the guardrail on the shoulder of the road. A doctor who had also witnessed the accident rendered first aid while Devin checked with Dispatch and Nickel guided traffic around the scene.
The crash victim, 77-year-old Wendell Orr of St. Anthony, died, but not due to a lack of effort or quick reaction by Weaver and Nickel.
Weaver and Nickel secured the area until state police arrived. Weaver also requested an ambulance. Shortly thereafter, the ambulance and an Idaho State Police trooper arrived, as did the Madison County Sheriff and an off-duty Rexburg police officer.
The Jeep was pulling a horse trailer containing a large pig. When the trailer was struck and the Jeep flipped, the trailer came to rest upright in the median. The pig escaped unharmed and was running around loose until Devin and other ITD employees trapped and returned it to the trailer.
Traffic was backed up for miles and fellow Port of Entry Inspectors David Weeks and Sherril Cole assisted by providing traffic control at the previous interchange to alert motorists to the situation.
“David and Devin helped give the accident victim a chance to live,” Compliance Manager Reymundo Rodriguez said. “They also helped prevent additional accidents through their traffic-control efforts. I am deeply appreciative of their service.”
The driver of the semi, Ramandeep S. Johal, 26, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, was wearing a seatbelt with no reported injuries.