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Wreck Injures ISP Trooper Escorting U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Idaho Hwy 55

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This vehicle was escorting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Idaho Highway 55 on Nov. 6. - IDAHO STATE POLICE
  • Idaho State Police
  • This vehicle was escorting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on Idaho Highway 55 on Nov. 6.
The 4,000-mile journey of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, from McCall to Washington, D.C., got off to a dangerous start Sunday when an Idaho State Police trooper, escorting the tree on Idaho Highway 55, was badly injured in a two-vehicle crash.

Police said the trooper was leading the official tree escort motorcade from McCall to Boise when, near milepost 77 in Boise County, a 2001 Dodge truck driven Michael Shields, 49, of Boise, crossed the center line and collided with the patrol car.

Trooper Brandalyn Crapo was airlifted to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Shields was evaluated for injuries at the scene. The Boise County Sheriff's office was leading the investigation.

CAPITOLCHRISTMASTREE.COM
  • CapitolChristmasTree.com
The tree, and what remained of its escort, arrived in Boise late Sunday. The 80-foot Engelmann spruce, which was harvested from the Little Ski Hill west of McCall, will be on display Monday at 11 a.m. before Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter officially sends it on its way to the nation's capitol.

Also on hand for Monday's Statehouse ceremony will be Isabella Gerard, a fifth-grader at St. Mary's Catholic School in Boise, who won a poetry contest for the honor of lighting the tree in Washington, D.C. The tree will also be decorated with more than 18,000 handmade ornaments, crafted over the past year by Idaho citizens—many of them school kids.

After a quick loop around the Gem State, the tree heads east with scheduled celebratory stops in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia before arriving in Washington, D.C. in early December.