Log truck driver blamed in massive Jan. 9 I-84 crash near Meridian

Police conclude that he was traveling too fast with limited visibility the day of multiple wrecks on I-84 in Meridian.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comJanuary 23, 2014 

Investigators determined that Cory Ford failed to slow down in heavy fog when he sideswiped a tractor-trailer and rear-ended a Subaru Forester on Interstate 84 on Jan. 9. The collision set off one of many chain-reaction accidents that day, with four other vehicles involved, according to a crash report filed Tuesday with the Idaho Transportation Department.

The crashes — 44 vehicles and 12 accident scenes — blocked westbound freeway traffic for hours. Motorists were forced to leave I-84 at the Ten Mile Road exit and use other routes to head west.

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

Ford, 38, of Emmett, had not been cited as of Wednesday, but the report filed with ITD by the Idaho State Police indicates that a citation is “pending.”

The log truck’s owner, Brian Wilson of Brian Wilson Trucking in Emmett, said Ford told him Tuesday that he hadn’t heard anything about being cited. Wilson said he had not seen the police report.

The day of the pileup, just west of Meridian’s Ten Mile Road overpass, motorists said they hit a wall of fog before 9 a.m. that severely restricted visibility. Traffic had stopped on the freeway because of an earlier accident.

Jose D. Silva Cuellar, 52, of Meridian, the driver of the Subaru, suffered serious injuries. His Subaru eventually was dragged 180 feet down the freeway by the log truck. The vehicle, which rolled several times, resembled nothing but a crumpled ball of metal when it came to a stop. It took rescue workers an hour to remove him from his car.

Silva Cuellar was released after spending several days at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. He has not spoken publicly about the crash.

The 11 other collisions resulted in less serious injuries and vehicle damage. Nine people in addition to Silva Cuellar were treated at local hospitals.

Ford took a blood test; the crash report indicated that no drug or alcohol use was detected at the scene. Toxicology results have not come back from the police lab.

At least three drivers in the 12 incidents have been cited for a basic rule violation: driving faster than conditions warrant. Two drivers were cited for moving out of a lane before determining that it was safe to do so. Another two drivers were cited for following too closely and for failing to show proof of insurance.

Additional citations might have been issued, but an Idaho State Police report on one of the collisions has not been filed with ITD.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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