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Accident waiting to happen

Accident waiting to happen

Information provided by the Idaho Falls and Pocatello Police Departments show 436 accident investigations the past year on 17th Street in Idaho Falls, and 302 crashes were investigated by Pocatello police on Yellowstone.

"Actually the most common is a simple rear-ender," Officer Lynn Case of the Idaho Falls Police Department said. "Somebody's not paying enough attention to the guy in front of the them, or they're just too close to them. That's probably the most common violation you'll see."

But occasionally the crashes are more serious -- especially when someone tries to turn left onto 17th from Woodruff and doesn't see oncoming cars. That's what happened to Anja Trautner with her husband and daughter in the car.

"I can't even explain -- it's the worst sound in the world to be in a horrible wreck like that," Trautner said. "Of course, the worst thing after the accident when you wake up and wonder, is everyone OK, is anyone dead-? We are all severely injured -- our necks, our backs. We're all just probably going to be dealing with it for years."

Debbie Aquayo was in a serious accident on 17th and St. Clair earlier this year.

"A young driver pulled out abruptly in front of me and we hit head-on," Aguayo said. "I had a concussion and some spinal injury and just the daily pain of recovering."

Pocatello police say unwise turns are the biggest cause of accidents on Yellowstone.

"You get people waiting to make left turns from either side of Yellowstone," Lt. Paul Manning said. "I think people get impatient and they make that turn without waiting for a big enough opening to get in there."

Officer Case agrees that people just get in too big of a hurry.

"Slow down, back off, buckle up, and if you drink, don't drive," Manning said.

Those involved in accidents on these busy streets have similar sentiments about them.

"I avoid it like the plague," Trautner said.
"It's definitely an accident waiting to happen anywhere along that stretch," Aquayo said.

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