Teen wants to plant hope after the fatal crash on I-84
Update: The driver of the commercial truck involved in the fatal crash on Interstate 84 on June 17 has been identified as 42-year-old Illya D. Tsar, of Rochester, New York, the Ada County Coroner's Office said Friday. Tsar's official cause of death was thermal and inhalation injuries due to the crash.
Below is our previous reporting.
Four days after a fiery crash on Interstate 84 that killed four people, Mountain Home Air Force Base officials have identified three of the victims as local airmen.
The victims were identified as Senior Airman Carlos V. Johnson, 23, Senior Airman Lawrence P. Manlapit III, 26, and Senior Airman Karlie A. Westall, 21, according to a press release from the airbase.
Johnson worked in the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron, Manlapit in the 391st Fighter Squadron and Westall in the 366th Operations Support Squadron.
"I am devastated by the loss of our Airmen," said Col. Joe Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, in the release. "The upcoming weeks will be tough on all of us, but I know the Gunfighter family will pull together to support each other as well as the family and friends impacted by this tragic event."
According to an Idaho State Police press release, the crash occurred around 11:30 p.m. Sunday on eastbound I-84 at milepost 47, near the Cloverdale Road overpass. A semi truck and SUV slowed for construction traffic while eastbound on the interstate. A second commercial truck struck the SUV and semi truck from behind. Four other vehicles were also involved.
Tsar was driving the commercial truck that struck the SUV, ISP confirmed. The SUV was carrying the three airmen.
Johnson, originally from Panama, had worked at Mountain Home Air Force Base since February 2015 as an operations management journeyman.
Manlapit was a Bridgeport, Connecticut, native who began his career with the Air Force in 2014. He began working at Mountain Home Air Force Base in January 2015 and served as an avionics systems journeyman.
Westall, an air traffic control journeyman, was a South Dakota native who began her Air Force career in 2015. She started working at Mountain Home in January 2016.
All three were the recipients of multiple awards and decorations, including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Flames shot from the crash, which shut down I-84 overnight and into Sunday morning. The interstate reopened shortly after noon, but the Idaho Transportation Department said the Cloverdale overpass, which was damaged by fire, will remain closed indefinitely as crews survey the extent of the damage.