ROSE LAKE — A three-semi accident on icy Interstate 90 in North Idaho near the Rose Lake interchange on Thursday resulted in an “unprecedented” rescue for Kootenai County.
After three semis collided early in the morning, a medical team from Kootenai Health that included two trauma surgeons, a nurse and an anesthesiologist was called upon to assist first responders. They were trying to extricate a driver after logs from one of the semis lodged inside the cab and trapped the man.
The medical team had to amputate the man’s right leg so he could be rescued.
Chris Way, Kootenai County Emergency Medical Services chief, called the rescue “unprecedented” for Kootenai County.
“This had never been done in Kootenai County,” Way said. “It may happen five times a year in North America. It’s very rare to take a surgical team to a scene.
“We’re thankful for such a great relationship with Kootenai Health. We called upon their resources to help get this patient out of the vehicle. It was absolutely a life-or-death situation.”
According to Idaho State Police, here’s what happened:
Westbound traffic was slowing at 5:43 a.m. for a semi that had jackknifed.
David R. Bailey, 47, St. Maries, was slowing down in a 2000 Freightliner semi hauling logs in the left lane because of stopped traffic.
Shawn C. Sanchez, 46, Englewood, Colo., was slowing down as well in a 2015 Volvo semi and was unable to stop, sideswiping the log truck.
Aleksey A. Tikhonov, 54, Soap Lake, Wash., was also westbound and failed to stop a 2009 Volvo, striking the rear end of both the log truck and the other Volvo.
The log truck was then pushed into the center median.
Tikhonov was transported to Kootenai Health, where he was in serious condition Thursday night. An occupant with him, Vasily Bugaychuk, 47, Soap Lake, who was in the sleeper compartment, was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. Bugaychuk was also in serious condition Thursday night.
All three drivers were wearing seat belts. Neither Sanchez nor Bailey was injured.