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Dodging Drunks

With our numerous interstates and local highways, it’s not uncommon to see trucks from around the United States toting their deliverables across our beautiful Idaho. One Texas-based semi driver had the surprise of his life earlier this month when a car rammed his rig near Kimberly, Idaho. Jose Ortiz was minding his own business, trucking down Highway 30, when he was struck by 57-year-old Kathy Baker, who was driving intoxicated.

It’s no small matter when you hit a semi-truck. The sheet metal our cars are made of simply can’t stand up to the thick structural steel of a semi. It’s fortunate that Ms. Baker wasn’t killed.

The accident occurred around 8:30 a.m. What Baker was doing drinking so early in the morning is unclear. But what is clear is that she lost control of her vehicle, allowing it to slam into Ortiz’ trailer. The police arrived on the scene and no one sustained injuries as a result of the collision.

Idaho is blessed to have a relatively low rate of accidents resulting from alcohol or drug impairment, comprising only 3% of multiple-vehicle collisions in 2012, according to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety.

The Kimberly area is generally fairly quiet, with only five reported accidents last year. For the whole state, there were only 192 crashes involving a semi-truck with a single trailer. This may be as much a result of the professionalism of the semi drivers as it is a reflection on how safe our roads are. Professional drivers are taught to do whatever they can to avoid an accident. For drunks, this might mean slowing down to let them pass or even pulling off the highway when a drunk is acting too randomly to predict.

Though the accident resulted in no injuries, it did result in a 2 hour delay for westbound commuters. Baker was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

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