Meridian man injured in freeway pileup continues to improve

Idaho StatesmanJanuary 11, 2014 

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The driver of this car was sent to a hospital with serious injuries, but is expected to survive, police and paramedics say.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

Jose D. Silva Cuellar, 52, was listed in fair condition Saturday afternoon at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, a hospital spokesman said. He had been listed in serious condition the day before.

The Meridian resident was injured when his car was dragged 180 feet and rolled several times after colliding with a loaded log truck Thursday morning.

Silva Cuellar was pulled from his crumpled 2011 Subaru Forester following a 44-vehicle pileup on Interstate 84 west of the Ten Mile Road overpass in Meridian. Idaho City resident Jeff Wright held his hand while waiting for rescuers to arrive. Wright said the injured man remained conscious.

Rescue crews spent an hour removing Silva Cuellar from his small SUV, which looked like a large ball as it sat on the pavement, wedged into the front right portion of the log truck trailer.

Idaho State Police on Friday said they were still investigating the pileup, which occurred after motorists hit a wall of fog just west of the Ten Mile overpass. A dozen separate crashes took place during the incident.

Nine other people were injured in different incidents during the mishap. The state police has not released their names and has not provided an update on whether those people are still being treated in area hospitals or have been released.

Several drivers were cited for violation of the basic rule, which requires motorists to drive at a reasonable speed to match conditions. Besides the fog, there was also ice on the freeway that morning.

Log truck driver Cory Ford of Emmett, was not among those cited. Troopers said they wanted additional time to study the circumstance regarding the log truck crash before determining whether to city Ford or not.

The most serious crash occurred when Ford's logging truck struck several other vehicles as he tried to maneuver through the fog from the far left lane and come to a stop.

Ford told the Statesman on Thursday that a car and a tractor-trailer cut in front of him right before the crash. He said he felt his truck, which was loaded with logs, strike a car or a truck and then slam into the concrete median.

The 2004 Kenworth logging truck, owned by Brian Wilson Trucking of Emmett, was taken to an ISP tow yard for examination, Wilson said.

State police said most or all of the collisions could have been avoided if people had slowed down in the fog and ice.

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