Christmas Marred by Tragedy on Idaho Highways


Driving conditions were particularly challenging over the Christmas holiday, triggering slide-offs and multiple accidents across the region.

Idaho State Police reported that a Christmas Day one-vehicle accident on Ustick Road, just west of Middleton Road in Canyon County, resulted in the death of a passenger and the hospitalization of the driver.  ISP said the vehicle was travelling eastbound when it slid off the road and struck a utility pole. The driver, 27-year-old Juan Hernandez-Rivas, of Boise, was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His passenger, 39-year-old Sergio Hernandez, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Both men were wearing seat belts.

Tragedy struck in Eastern Idaho, as well, when a mother and daughter died in a crash on Interstate 15 south of Pocatello. ISP reported 38-year-old Rachel Hollibaugh, of Dietrich, and her 14-year-old daughter, Tanessa, were killed in a one-vehicle accident Christmas Day when their pickup slide off the road and into a median. Five other children were also in the vehicle. Four were treated and released from a Pocatello hospital, but a fifth child remained hospitalized Friday morning.

AAA Idaho estimates that as many as 516,000 Idahoans were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home between Dec. 23 and Jan. 4—about 90 percent of them passengers or drivers in motor vehicles.