Highway 95 Megaload Collision Outcomes

After the November 8 rear-end collision on Highway 95 between Shawn Dewitt of Princeton, who had voluntarily stopped to ask a megaload flagger how to proceed, and tribal member Frank Bybee of Desmet, who rear-ended Shawn’s stopped vehicle, a Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) facebook friend contacted us to relate that Frank had said that the multiple convoy lights had distracted and blinded him and that no visible flagger had directed the situation.  Predictably, Idaho State Police Captain Lonnie Richardson recounted the incident differently for the November 10 Moscow-Pullman Daily News article, stating that “It had nothing to do with the loads or being confused by the lights.  It was just driver error.”

WIRT contacted both men to offer assistance after their accident, explain our similar monitoring experiences and hearing evidence, and illicit their anti-megaload collaboration.  Since November 21, Frank has responded and described his life-threatening ordeal as a dark, confusing, sudden encounter that he is lucky to have survived.  Officers on the scene noted that he could pursue a civil case, and they did not cite him for his expired license and insurance or his role in the wreck.  Frank has talked with a few lawyers and seems anxious for a legal challenge.  As megaload damages mount on Highway 95, we should solicit other observations of these transports endangering travelers (through a news article request, an anonymous non-WIRT blog, or any other of your suggestions), as we continue to build a case and search for a lawyer.  Already, two people have suffered bodily and property damage, four have been falsely arrested, and numerous drivers have narrowly escaped collisions.  Struck cliffs, rolling/killing rocks, a power outage, two delays of heart attack patients, two collisions, and dozens of unflagged, involuntary “off-roaders” may be just the tip of the unmonitored, unreported, melting iceberg!  Dare we ask what it will take to stop these reckless oil company invasions?  Here are slightly edited excerpts from two of Frank’s messages:

“Yeah, I had a real bad accident and am lucky to be alive.  There was no warning of a flagger ahead sign or stop ahead sign or anything.  It is a 65 mph speed limit there, then just all the sudden, a stop in the middle of the night.  Those wide loads had big flashing lights on them, and I didn’t even see the flagger.  The guy I ran into said the flagger had walked off the road towards the wide loads.  So the guy I ran into was coasting forward, and his break lights weren’t on or anything.  When I hit him, I had no warning; I didn’t even see that van because of all the flashing lights on the wide loads.  And like I said, there was no warning of a stop.  I talked to a couple of lawyers to see about filing a civil lawsuit against them.  My only problem is that my SR 22 insurance expired, so I didn’t even have a legal driver’s license.  But if there is anything I can do to help, I will.  An officer who responded to the accident informed me that my license wasn’t valid, but he never gave me a ticket.  I told him there were no stop ahead signs.  He advised me that I could file a civil lawsuit against them, but I asked a couple of lawyers, and they did like my chances of winning a case against them.”

“My car was totaled and is in a junk yard now. … I was knocked out and got a concussion.  My seat belt and air bag saved my life.  It is a terrifying thought that I almost brought my daughter on this trip.  I will do all I can to prevent this accident from happening to somebody else.  Please keep me informed of whatever I can do to help.”

(From WIRT Newsletter)

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