John Miller

John Miller

The day after Thanksgiving was a bad one for driving on Interstate 15 near Blackfoot with winter weather hitting, and it only got worse by the time late afternoon arrived.

Multiple accidents on the interstate began happening around 4:45 p.m., with multiple semis involved in the collisions.

Idaho State Police shut down I-15 in both directions around 5:10 p.m. after about a dozen crashes occurred on the freeway just north of Blackfoot during snowy and icy conditions.

As of 7 p.m. the five-mile stretch of interstate between the Highway 26 exit in Blackfoot and the northbound Blackfoot rest area remained closed. By 7:15 p.m., all lanes had been reopened.

The Bingham County Sheriff’s Office reported that there were no fatalities in the wrecks but multiple people suffered minor injuries.

The ISP urged people to stay off the roads in east Idaho that Friday night because of the “treacherous” winter weather conditions.

But local law enforcement had to go out in that mess, and they received a big thanks from the ISP for their efforts.

“I just wanted to let you know how much our Troopers appreciated the assistance of Bingham County and the Blackfoot Police on Friday the 29th of November,” ISP Sgt. Todd Orr said in an email to fellow state police officials that was passed along to Blackfoot Police Chief Scott Gay and BCSO Chief Deputy Jeff Gardner. “During this time we had multiple crashes involving roughly 20 vehicles that closed both northbound and southbound Interstate 15 near milepost 94.

“After the initial response, Blackfoot Police and Bingham County units diverted traffic off and away from the Interstate for upwards of 2 hours. Due to the extremely cold weather conditions on scene, they also arranged for a transport bus. Teton Stages later arrived and housed some occupants at the location and then transported them to the Bingham County Courthouse. Once at the courthouse, law enforcement opened their facilities until the involved parties could be transported from the location.

“Without this level of cooperation between agencies, this kind of event would be exponentially more difficult to get under control and resolve.”

The day after Thanksgiving provided a positive story out of a bad situation.

Kudos to all those involved.

John Miller is editor of the Bingham County Chronicle.