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Couple in Adams County car-bull crash healing from serious injuries

The Garner’s damaged Subaru. Doris Garner was cut out of the car.
The Garner’s damaged Subaru. Doris Garner was cut out of the car. Photo provided by family.

Doris Garner has no memory of the vehicle hitting the bull, much less anything that came after, when a terrible collision took its far more tragic turn.

Garner and her husband, Jack, were driving home to Nampa from a family visit in LaCrosse, Wash., near dusk on Nov. 1 when their Subaru collided with a bull on U.S. 95 in Adams County. Both suffered serious injuries. Doris faces two to three weeks more in the hospital, her sister, Shannon Ellis, said Thursday. Jack is home.

“He just said they came around the corner and there was the biggest black cow. ‘I didn’t have time to do anything,’ ” Ellis said Jack told her. “He says he remembers everything going black when it hit up into the windshield.”

What happened after the crash is under investigation and no official details have been released. The owner of the injured bull, Jack Yantis, who was summoned by police to euthanize the animal, was shot and killed by Adams County deputies who had responded to the accident. Idaho State Police are investigating, and on Thursday the FBI announced it would join.

I know that they both have a long road ahead of them as far as recovery is going to go, but they’re still here with us.

Shannon Ellis

The car collided dead-center with the bull. Doris Garner’s most severe injuries are on her left side and on her head. She was taken by helicopter to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center with multiple broken bones in her neck, skull and chest, a severe concussion, and deep cuts on her head and left hand. When the helicopter dropped her off, it went back for her husband, Ellis said.

Right after the crash, Jack was able to free himself, repeatedly slamming his shoulder into the door to get it open, Ellis said. The tow-truck driver at the scene later told the family that the bull was nearly as big as their car and might have weighed 2,400 lbs.

“I think it was just out of sheer adrenaline, and scared for his new little wife,” she said. “He managed to get out of the car and made it about halfway around and just dropped. He couldn’t go any further.”

The couple were married in September, Ellis said. Their courtship started last year through a website for members of the Mormon church. When it came time for Jack to ask her to marry him, he first asked Doris’s father, then her kids, then proposed to her in front of her family in LaCrosse. They were married Sept. 5 in a gazebo in LaCrosse built by Doris’ father, where they also had their first date.

“She’s probably the sweetest person I know, that’s for sure,” Doris’ older sister said. “That she and Jack found each other has been really awesome. He’s got like five kids and she has three kids. They’re kind of like ‘The Brady Bunch’ but the kids are all grown and out of the house.”

The Garners had traveled to LaCrosse for Halloween, Ellis said.

“We’ve kind of got a family tradition where we make popcorn balls to hand out to kids every year. My mom’s been doing it for 50-some years and we have like four generations that come to the house,” Ellis said. “It’s kind of a big family tradition that we always do and they wanted to come and it was the first time we’d seen them since they were married in September.”

Ellis said the couple stopped in Lewiston to have lunch with a son on the way back that Sunday, and then went on their way to Nampa.

“That’s when they had the accident,” she said. “She said the last thing she remembers was taking her little dog out at a rest area. Next thing her kids are seeing her in the hospital Monday night.”

The dog, Chloe, a Shih-Tzu-Maltese mix, was unharmed in the accident. A vet in Council kept her until the Ellises collected her last week. They stopped in at the Sheriff’s Office while there.

“We just told them how grateful we were for ... being there, and their EMTs and all that they did, because without them, honestly, Jack and Doris would probably not have made it. Their injuries were pretty heavy,” Ellis said.

Doris is a nanny to a family with three girls, Ellis said. Jack is a respiratory therapist at St Luke’s in Boise. She was walking with assistance Friday after the accident.

“About Wednesday,” Ellis said, “she all of a sudden thought, ‘The bull! What happened to the bull?’ And we’re like, the bull is not with us anymore.”

The family didn’t initially tell her about Jack Yantis, Ellis said.

“It’s honestly unbelievable that they’re still alive and with us,” Ellis said. “I know that they both have a long road ahead of them as far as recovery is going to go, but they’re still here with us. And, unfortunately, Jack Yantis is not. It’s just a really horrible, horrible situation.”

Bill Dentzer: 208-377-6438, @IDSbilld

MEMORIAL SERVICE, PROTEST THIS WEEKEND

A public memorial service for Jack Yantis will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at Council High School, 101 E. Bleeker St.

On Saturday, organizers of the “Justice for Jack” Facebook page will hold a “peaceful protest” in support of the Yantis family, starting at noon at Council Elementary School, 202 Michigan Ave. The page has urged participants to be peaceful; organizer Becca Barrow said this week that if anyone shows up armed or attempts to cause trouble, the event will be shut down.

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