A semi-truck driver’s distracted driving was likely the cause of a fiery multi-vehicle crash in Idaho in June that claimed the lives of three airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base as well as the driver of the truck, according to a report issued by the Idaho State Police.
Illya D. Tsar, an employee for Krujex Freight Transport Corp., was driving a 2019 Volvo semitractor-trailer truck east on the freeway just before noon on June 16 when he failed to stop and careened into a 2008 Jeep Wrangler carrying the airmen. The Jeep and other vehicles were stopped just ahead of a construction zone where three of the four eastbound lanes were closed off.
The Jeep was driven by Senior Airman Carlos Johnson, 23, a Key West, Florida, resident stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Senior Airman Lawrence P. Manlapit III, 26, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Senior Airman Karlie A. Westall, 21, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, both passengers in the Jeep, were also killed in the accident.
After being struck by the semitractor-trailer, Johnson’s Jeep was pushed into the back of a 2003 Volvo semi driven by Roman Zhuk. Zhuk’s truck then sideswiped a 2006 Ford Fusion driven by Tonia M. Jorgensen. Jorgensen and a passenger in the Fusion she was driving were treated at an area hospital.
Jorgensen’s Fusion then rear-ended a 2014 Ford F-150 pickup and sideswiped a 2015 Ford Escape. Debris from Tsar’s semitractor-trailer also struck a 2010 Ford Focus.
The impact caused Tsar’s vehicle to burst into flames, which damaged the Cloverdale Road overpass. As a result, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) intends to replace the overpass.
ITS said that the contractor of the roadwork, The Penhall Co., followed a safety plan developed under federal guidelines, but that the accident was likely caused by Tsar’s distracted driving.
Source: Idaho Statesman