A motor vehicle accident that claimed the lives of a 36-year-old man and his three children was likely caused by fatigue according to a preliminary investigation conducted by the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators believe that the 2005 Toyota Prius the family was traveling in left U.S. Route 95 and fell 30 feet into the Salmon River because the 17-year-old girl behind the wheel fell asleep. The girl’s 8-year-old and 10-year-old brothers were also killed in the crash.
Car landed on its roof
The deadly car accident occurred in Idaho County near Riggins at approximately 12:57 p.m. on June 10. First responders were dispatched to the scene when fishermen reported that a vehicle had plunged into the river about 500 feet from Race Creek Road. When deputies arrived, they found the car lying on its roof and partially submerged. Authorities believe the family drowned because water entered the car through a broken window.
According to media reports, the family had completed about 214 miles of a 274-mile trip from Spokane, Washington to Council, Idaho when the girl fell asleep. Deputies concluded that the car was sent airborne when it struck a pile of rocks after leaving the roadway. The vehicle is believed to have been flipped onto its roof when it struck a second pile of rocks.
The dangers of drowsy driving
Accidents like this one often occur because motorists anxious to complete long journeys ignore the signs of fatigue, and they usually cause catastrophic injury or death because sleeping drivers are unable to brake or take evasive action. Fatigue numbs the senses and slows reactions, which is why drowsy drivers are a danger to themselves and other road users even when they do not fall asleep behind the wheel.