TWIN LAKES - A fatal head-on crash between a Toyota Prius and a loaded logging truck shut down state Highway 41 for nearly six hours Thursday while emergency workers cleared the roadway.
About four hours later, another accident occurred in Hayden, which sent another woman to the hospital with critical injuries.
According to Lt. Chris Schenck, of the Idaho State Police, the Prius, driven by Brian Thompson of Vancouver, Wash., was traveling north on Highway 41, and crossed the center line striking a loaded logging truck head on.
Thompson, 50, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The logging truck, driven by 50-year-old Raymond Colvin of Addy, Wash., suffered serious damage and lost its load of logs onto the shoulder of the road before bursting into flames, and sparking a small grass fire.
A trail of spilled diesel and debris littered more than 100 yards behind the mangled logging truck and stretched down the southbound lane of the highway. The Prius came to rest in the ditch on the northbound lane.
"It was just like boom ... It happened so fast," said Colvin, who added he was uninjured, but still in a bit of shock.
Colvin said there was traffic behind him and in front of him trying to avoid the wreck.
According to Schenck, one driver who was following Colvin swerved to avoid the accident and hit a tree. That driver, Robert Cook, 44, of Blanchard, was not injured.
Ron Horn, of Spirit Lake, was one of the first people on the scene.
"I was about a mile away and I saw the smoke," he said. "When I got here all I saw was smoke and then the truck driver jumped out of his cab with a fire extinguisher."
Seeing that the driver of the truck appeared uninjured, Horn ran to the Prius to check on that driver. What he found, he said, was horrific.
About that time, Horn said, others started arriving at the scene and they quickly determined that Thompson had passed away.
Mike Wenland, a local Realtor, said he just stopped by his house on Hamilton Court Road, to check on his dogs.
"I was just leaving, when I heard a huge explosion," he said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
The accident occurred right in front of Hamilton Court Road as he was heading down his driveway.
Wenland said he too rushed to the demolished Prius and pried the passenger side window open to check on the driver, while others tried to pry open the driver's side door.
Wenland is trained in first aid and CPR, but said it was too late.
* About three hours later Kootenai County Sheriff's Traffic Team, was called out to another accident that sent a 67-year-old female to Kootenai Medical Center with critical injuries.
"We're not sure if she is going to make it," said KCSO Lt. Stu Miller, adding the other male 21-year-old driver was uninjured.
The sheriff's office withheld the names of the drivers until family members could be notified.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Government Way and Lancaster Road in Hayden. According to Miller, the female driver was westbound on Lancaster Road and in a 2006 silver Mercedes sedan. She reportedly failed to stop at the intersection of Government Way.
The male driver was northbound on Government Way in a 2009 Chevrolet pick-up truck, and struck the Mercedes in the driver-side door.
"It's been a pretty crazy day," Miller said. "I don't know if it's the sun or what."
He said there was another injury accident in Post Falls when two young males hit a BMW driven by an older woman on Seltice Way, near the Ground Force building.
"All three of them were sent to the hospital with minor injuries," Miller said.
Alcohol was not a factor in either accident, officials said.