SHELLEY, Idaho — An Arizona couple and fourteen dogs were killed in an eastern Idaho crash Friday morning.
Idaho State Police officers are investigating the single vehicle crash that was reported about six o’clock Friday on Interstate 15, west of Shelley.
A man and woman from Phoenix, Arizona were traveling north in a Ford Econoline box truck when the vehicle, for some reason, left the interstate on the left shoulder, went into the median and struck an embankment, according to an ISP news release.
The female passenger, Ann Watson, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene. The male driver, Christopher Kracht, 40, was flown by air ambulance to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, where he also died from his injuries.
Kracht was wearing a seatbelt; Watson was not.
Investigators learned the rented box truck was part of a nonprofit animal rescue network. Forty-eight dogs of mixed breeds and sizes were being transported inside the truck.
The dogs were being taken to Calgary, Alberta, Canada for adoption. All the dogs appeared to have been in kennels. Investigating troopers say, in addition to the two people killed in the crash, fourteen of the dogs were also found deceased.
The Blackfoot Animal Shelter and Rescue is assisting with the safe handling of the dogs that have been located following the crash. At this time, eighteen dogs have been found. Local veterinarians are also helping the shelter by providing medical care to injured animals.
About sixteen animals remain unaccounted for. Despite searching the interstate area, troopers have been unable to locate any more of the missing dogs. Anyone who locates a stray animal in the area is urged to contact Bingham County animal control.
A representative of the animal rescue network plans to pick up the remaining dogs and continue onto Canada, where shelters are waiting to place the dogs in adopted homes.
No other vehicles were involved.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
(photo courtesy: ISP)