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Safe holiday driving tips from Idaho State Police

Safe holiday driving tips from Idaho State Police

From the Idaho State Police:

Memorial Day weekend is not only a time to reflect and honor our veterans, but also a time when many Idahoans take to the road to enjoy the unofficial kick-off of summer.   During Memorial Day weekend in 2013, there were 137 crashes on Idaho roads with 79 people injured and 2 fatalities.  The Idaho State Police offer some safety reminders to drivers to ensure that this holiday is safe for everybody on the road.  

Number of oil trains likely to increase

The number of oil trains moving through north Idaho is expected to increase in coming years, raising fears of a catastrophic accident.

BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas says they move an average of 1.5 loaded oil trains through north Idaho each day. The trains roll through Sandpoint, Athol, Rathdrum and Hauser from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana to coastal refineries.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reported that an oil train typically has about 100 rail cars and each car holds about 29,000 gallons.

Union Pacific, the other railroad that transports commodities through the Idaho Panhandle, carries crude that is interspersed with other products. That's according to spokesman Aaron Hunt.

Melonas said the volume of oil trains coming through North Idaho is expected to increase.

3 people sent to hospital after driving into Rimrock Road washout

3 people sent to hospital after driving into Rimrock Road washout

Three people were sent to the hospital early Thursday morning after two vehicles drove into a large washout on Rimrock Road.

Deputies with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office were called to the scene just after 3 a.m. on Rimrock Road at York Court, and found two vehicles had driven into the washout.

The sheriff's office determined a culvert under the road had failed due to heavy runoff and the road began to deteriorate. The main water line above it broke, washing out the entire width of the road. The gap is approximately ten feet across and eight feet deep.

Deputies found a Toyota Camry and Toyota Sienna had both driven into the hole. Clifton Mcmahon, 24, Melissa Ehrmantraut, 31, and Anthony Moreno, 47, were all transported to Kootenai Health for non-life threatening injuries.

Rimrock Road is closed between Lakeview Drive and Lancaster as crews repair the roadway.

The sheriff's office reports about 150 residents are currently without water. Other utilities may be affected.

Reader board erroneously tells drivers I-90 closed until Thursday

Reader board erroneously tells drivers I-90 closed until Thursday

Interstate 90 has reopened from Mullan, Idaho to St. Regis, Montana after closing Monday due to avalanche dangers, but it turns out a reader board mistake nearly caused as much trouble as the highway closure.

If you were heading eastbound, an Idaho Transportation Department reader board told drivers that Lookout Pass wouldn't be open until March 6 and the road would be closed at Mullan. Some people turned around and took a 300 mile detour while others checked into hotel rooms and called it a day.

"Just before 4th of July the sign said it was closed, so we pulled over and had lunch and we have family here so after check in we're going to go see them," Daniel Bohrer, who's moving to South Dakota, said.

Signs told travelers that Interstate 90 was closed from Mullan to St. Regis until Thursday but then, around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the freeway reopened. Some took a chance and waited at the road block.

"Play on my phone, watch movies in the truck because I have a portable DVD player. Just kill time," Ronnie Bruce, who's traveling to Wisconsin, said.

Others stopped while they were ahead and took the long way around the pass.

Idaho considering raising speed limits

Idaho considering raising speed limits

If you feel the need for speed, you could soon be cruising the freeways in Idaho at 80 miles an hour, after the state senate has green lit a bill that could increase freeway speeds.

Idaho could join Texas and Utah as the only states to have speed limits of 80 mph or higher. If the bill passes the state legislature, freeway speeds would jump from 75 to 80 while state highway speeds would go from 65 to 70 mph.

Some drivers are giving the legislation a green light.

"I'm young, I can handle it, I have good reaction time, step it up to 90," Gary Hopkins said.

"I don't think it's going to change a whole lot, I think a lot of people are doing 80 anyway so let them do it," Justin Goldthorpe said.

Other drivers, however, want to put the brakes on the legislation.

"I don't think it's smart with the terrain around here, the winter conditions, I think you increase the speed, you increase the fatalities," Aaron Smith said.

"You are going to burn more gas, more fuel, more pollution," Mic Horrocks said.

The speed limit bill passed the Idaho Senate Tuesday in a 30-4 vote and now moves to the House for action.

Three dead in North Idaho crashes

Three dead in North Idaho crashes

Three people have been killed Tuesday in two separate crashes in North Idaho, while there have been multiple crashes and collisions reported across Eastern Washington.

Two people were killed in a two car crash on Interstate-90 near Cataldo. A man and woman were driving in a Nissan Pathfinder westbound around 10:30 a.m. when they lost control, went across the median and slammed into a semi-truck. The truck ended up in the eastbound lanes, while the Pathfinder came to a rest in the median.

The woman in the passenger seat died on impact while the male driver was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The victims have not been identified. The two people in the semi-truck were not injured.

The crash slowed traffic in the westbound lanes while eastbound traffic was diverted off the freeway for about five hours. Idaho State Police say slick roads were a major factor in the crash.

In Nez Perce County, one person was killed in a two-vehicle crash along Highway 12 at 8:11 a.m. In that collision the driver of a tractor trailer crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a pick-up truck.

Shoshone County steps up holiday DUI patrols

Shoshone County steps up holiday DUI patrols

From the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office:


The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all drivers to make the safe choice and not drink and drive during the holiday season.