Police release details of crashes near INL as 3,000 gallons of fuel spill on highway
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On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at approximately 8:46 a.m., Idaho State Police investigated a multiple vehicle crash, on US-20 near milepost 272, east of INL in Bingham County.
Brenda J. Deans, 64, of Ammon, was driving a 2018 Ford Explorer. Miles R. Muir, 34, of Idaho Falls, was driving a 2015 INL Motor Coach Bus. David B. Taylor, 62, of Ammon, was driving a Volvo Semi pulling a fuel tanker trailer. Joshua D. Steineckert, 29, of Salt Lake City, was driving a 2019 Nissan Xterra. Aaron H. Varnes, 39, of Idaho Falls, was driving a 2018 Toyota Tacoma pickup. Brett C. Stacey, 45, of Idaho Falls, was driving a 2017 Ford F150 pickup.
All drivers were traveling westbound on US-20, entering a low visibility area with fog, wind and blowing snow. Deans stopped on the highway blocking the westbound lane. Muir then stopped behind her. Taylor was unable to stop and veered to the left striking the bus. The semi came to rest off the right shoulder. The bus then struck the Explorer sending both vehicles off the right shoulder. As a result of the crash, the tanker trailer was punctured and leaked approximately 3,000 gallons of fuel. A clean-up and Hazmat crew are on scene.
A second crash occurred when Stacey moved to the right attempting to avoid the initial crash. Varnes was unable to stop and struck the rear of Stacey’s Ford F150 pickup. Steineckert then struck the rear of Varnes’ vehicle which was pushed off the right shoulder striking the Ford Explorer.
Taylor was transported via personal vehicle to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. All other drivers and passengers were transported to the Central Medical Facility at INL. The bus had 30 passengers on it.
All drivers were wearing seatbelts.
The road has been blocked since the crash occurred and recovery crews are still in the process of removing the Semi Tanker and INL Bus.
This crash is under investigation by the Idaho State Police and they were assisted by the INL EMS, INL Security, INL Site Safety and the Idaho Transportation Department.
The following is an update from Idaho National Laboratory.
At approximately 8:40 a.m. today, a crash involving an Idaho National Laboratory bus, a private fuel tanker, two government vehicles and two private vehicles occurred on U.S. 20 west of Idaho Falls.
The passengers on the bus were 30 newly hired INL employees on a Site tour. Nine people were transported by ambulance, 21 people were transported by bus, and three went by personal vehicle to INL’s Central Facilities Area Medical Dispensary for evaluation. Initial reports are that any injuries are minor and non-life-threatening. The cause of the accident is under investigation by Idaho State Police.
Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our employees and the public, Idaho National Laboratory evaluates the routes to its facilities daily, especially in inclement weather. INL dispatches road scouts to drive the roads used to transport its employees. During the winter months, an early morning conference call is convened between the road scouts, Bus Operations personnel, facilities personnel, laboratory management and representatives from other Site contractors to make decisions on whether it’s safe to transport employees to work. Employees are notified about road conditions and other cautions by text message, email and automated calls. The Idaho Transportation Department makes the decision whether to close a public highway, and on this day, the highway was open.
INL employs professional drivers operating well-maintained buses, and employees are encouraged to ride the bus, which is offered to them free of charge. Employees who make the decision to drive their personal vehicles are urged to be cautious during Idaho’s rapidly changing winter weather conditions. Every effort is made to ensure INL’s employees get to work and return to their homes safely, including rerouting buses, delaying starts and occasionally curtailing operations.
“The safety of our employees is always our number one concern,” said Juan Alvarez, INL chief operations officer. “I am very relieved that everyone involved is safe and that there were no serious injuries. I want to personally thank the first responders, including the Idaho State Police and the Idaho National Laboratory ProForce and Fire Department.”
IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State Police and emergency crews are on the scene of two crashes on US Highway 20 near the Idaho National Laboratory.
The first crash involves three vehicles and the second crash involves four, according to ISP. An INL bus and a fuel tanker was involved in the wrecks.
ISP says at least one person has minor injuries and a section of the highway is closed. Traffic is being diverted at the US 20/26 junction due to the wrecks.
A HazMat team from the INL is on scene and HazMat troopers are responding to the scene, according to an INL tweet.
EastIdahoNews.com will post updates on this story as we learn more.
ISP is on scene of a crash on US20 MP273 by the site involving an INL Bus, a fuel tanker and 2 other vehicles. Possible minor injuries. More info forthcoming. @