JACKSON (WNE) — Three women are rebounding after their SUV was hit Sunday afternoon by a tanker truck hauling milk near Munger Mountain Elementary School on Highway 89.
State trooper Andy Jackson said the driver of the Suburban, 63-year-old Big Piney resident Patricia Berndt, was life-flighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center after the 4:17 p.m. crash. The hospital told him that Berndt sustained serious injuries but was in stable condition Monday morning.
The two other women in the car, Berndt’s 73-year-old aunt and 76-year-old mother-in-law, were held overnight at St. John’s Health. Jackson said he believed the two New York residents were being released Monday.
State trooper Todd Baxter responded to the scene Sunday. He said the 26-year-old Idaho driver, identified as Legend Emmons, drifted to sleep at the wheel while driving north and drifted into the oncoming lane.
“While he was there he commented that he was really sorry, he had just fallen asleep at the wheel,” Baxter said. “The driver said that he had been feeling unwell, that he had some kind of a virus that was draining his energy.”
Baxter said Emmons tested negative for any substance use or impairment.
“All the people involved, from the truck driver to the ladies in the Suburban, had seat belts on, which really avoided this being a much more tragic situation than it turned out to be,” Baxter said.
However, troopers believe Emmons, hauling the approximately 80,000-pound tanker truck, was speeding. Baxter said he was likely traveling around 70 mph in the 55 mph zone based on where his vehicle eventually stopped, 600 feet from the crash site.
Emmons was cited for speeding and for a failure to maintain lane.