COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Authorities said a woman jumped into an SUV filled with kids after her vehicle collided with another SUV Tuesday morning. The stolen vehicle then collided with a truck.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said the first crash happened on Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive near Silver Beach Loop. The victim, a 61-year-old woman from Coeur d’Alene, told deputies that she had just turned westbound onto Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive from the east end of Silver Beach Loop Rd in her Subaru SUV when she saw a silver Mercedes SUV heading the other direction toward her. The driver of the Subaru attempted to avoid the crash by swerving off the right shoulder, but was still struck by the Mercedes, investigators said.
Authorities said a good Samaritan stopped to see if the people involved in the crash were okay. Deputies said the female driver of the Mercedes, identified as 33-year-old Kara Powers, then got into the good Samaritan’s SUV. The good Samaritan and one of the victims in the Subaru were able to get the good Samaritan's three children out of the vehicle before the suspect drove off.
The stolen SUV later rear-ended a pickup truck near Potlatch Hill road, deputies said.
The children were all reportedly okay. One child suffered a minor cut. The suspect and the driver of the pickup suffered injuries.
"It just happened so fast. 7:30 in the morning, you never thought you'd see something like that,” said a witness of the pickup crash, Scott Maclay.
Maclay and another passerby tended to the driver of the pickup truck who had a serious head injury and checked on the person in the SUV.
"I jumped on top and looked down on the passenger side, or driver side, and I could see what appeared to be a young female either passed out or dead I don't know,” said Maclay.
The woman, who Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office deputies said stole the Volvo from the previous crash scene, did survive.
Multiple charges against the woman were expected. It is believed that alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in the crashes.
Deputies said the chain of vehicle crashes on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive was affecting traffic Tuesday morning and urged drivers to avoid the area if possible.
Powers was taken to Sacred Heart for her injuries.
The driver of the pickup, 48-year-old William Akin, was taken to Kootenai Health where he is listed in serious but stable condition.
Powers has a record of DUI and Unlawful Use/ Possession of Prescription Medication.