Seven people were injured as a result of two separate accidents involving a total of 9 vehicles Friday evening, in Pottawattamie County. Both crashes occurred just hours apart, near a construction zone. The first accident took place on I-80 eastbound, about two-miles east of Shelby, at around 4:15-p.m. It involved four semi tractor-trailers and three other vehicles.
The Iowa State Patrol says the driver of one of the semi’s, 64-year old David Nyhus, of Arena, WI, was seriously injured in the crash and flown by LifeNet helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha., where he was listed in serious condition. Two other people were injured, including an eight-year old child, who was a passenger in a 2007 Toyota Camry, driven by 32-year old Jessica Cook, of Winthrop, Iowa. The other person injured was identified as 47-year old Jeffrey Vondeaxplette, of Moreno Valley, CA. Both were transported by ambulance to the Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan.The drivers of the other vehicles were not injured. The crash resulted in the eastbound lanes of I-80 being closed for more than five-hours, with traffic being diverted through Avoca.
The Patrol says traffic was stopped due to heavy traffic merging into one lane because of the construction ahead of them. The semi driven by Nyhus was traveling eastbound in the right lane, and for reasons unknown, failed to stop with the traffic ahead. The semi swerved to the right and hit Cook’s Camry in the rear. The car was shoved forward into a 2011 Ford Fiesta, driven by 27-year old James Paul,of Columbus, NE. Paul was not injured in the crash. The semi continued down the eastbound shoulder of I-80, where it hit a semi driven by 60-year old Thomas Kuster, of Madrid, a 2005 Ford F-250 pickup, driven by 31-year old Jacob Zech, of Omaha, and a 2007 Volvo semi, driven by 38-year old Slatcho Gueirguiev, of Prospect Heights, IL. After Nyhus’ semi pushed the Volvo semi into a 2011 International semi, driven by Vondeaxplette, the Volvo rolled onto its left side.
The accident remains under investigation, with charges pending.
The second accident happened less than one-half mile away from the first, in the westbound lane of I-80, at around 8:15-p.m. The State Patrol says four children, ranging from eighth-months to 6-years of age, all of whom were from Omaha, were injured, when the 2002 Chrysler van they were in was rear-ended by a semi. The children were transported by Shelby Rescue to Myrtue Hospital. Officials say the accident occurred as the van, driven by 27-year old Rachel Foster, of Omaha, was traveling in the right lane of I-80 westbound, and was slowing for traffic in front of her. The van was hit from behind by a 2006 Freightliner semi, being driven by 28-year old Steven Daubs, of Robinson, IL.