On Tuesday, July 20, at approximately 10:23 p.m., Blaine County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a vehicle fire on Highway 75 near mile marker 103 approximately one mile north of the U.S. Highway 20 junction. Upon investigation, it was determined that Howard B. Wong, age 59, of Bellevue, Wash., and a passenger were traveling northbound on Hwy. 75 in a red 1999 Volkswagen Eurovan when they collided with a deer crossing the highway from the northbound shoulder.
The impact created a fire that fully engulfed the vehicle and closed both lanes of Hwy. 75. Both of the occupants were wearing seatbelts and received only minor injuries. The van, which was completely burned inside and out, was towed from the scene. The deer scampered away from the scene prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.
“We want to remind people that wildlife is a significant road hazard in rural counties such as ours and to remain alert while driving,” stated Sheriff Harkins. “We are seeing more wildlife traveling down into the Wood River Valley from the backcountry because of drought conditions. Hitting an animal can cause significant vehicle damage or injuries to the occupants. Please use extreme caution while driving in the early mornings or evenings.”