| 03.17.2018

Unsafe travel has consequences: Moscow Police, Dean of Students advise students to travel safe over break


The University of Idaho Kappa Alpha Theta chapter suffered a tragedy in 2011 when Sarah Asmus, a freshman Kappa Alpha Theta sorority member, died from injuries sustained in a car accident.

She was traveling home to Blackfoot, Idaho, for Thanksgiving break with a fellow sorority member when their car slid on black ice and caused the vehicle to cross the median, where they were hit by an oncoming truck.

“She was really bright, had a lot of impact, she was very positive and she was very smart,” said Sara Spritzer, Asmus’ former roommate and fellow sorority member. “It was just a hard time for all
of us.”

Every year about one to two students will die from a car accident traveling to and from UI on holiday breaks, said Moscow Police Cpl. Art Lindquist. He said student safety while traveling on break is always a large concern for the Moscow Police Department and Dean of Student’s Office.

“Dean Bruce Pitman actually cringes every time we go on break, because he’s waiting for the phone call that will advise him that we lost another student,”
Lindquist said.

Lindquist said he has known multiple students who have died while traveling over break.

“I’ve gone to a handful of student funerals,” Lindquist said.

Dean of Students Bruce Pitman said his greatest concern is road conditions and dangerous weather during the winter months.

“Particularly if students are traveling to southern Idaho, there are certain stretches of highway that seem to be fairly hazardous,” Pitman said.

Lindquist said many accidents happen around McCall, Idaho, and that snow tires are strongly recommended for the winter months.

Pitman said students should make sure they are well rested before driving long distances, and should take their time when driving to and from UI. He said many times students will drive home while tired or at night when visibility is low.

“There is absolutely no need to be in a hurry, again, a few hours one way or another won’t make that much difference,” Pitman said.

Lindquist said traveling students should have a vehicle in good running condition, as well as warm clothing and a charged cell phone.
Pitman said students should choose to ride with someone who is responsible and will not be distracted on the road.

“Make sure you are traveling with someone who has a decent car with good equipment, and someone you know to have good judgment,” Pitman said.

Pitman said UI students also have the option to use the Holiday Break Bus service that travels to southern Idaho and the
Portland area.

Lindquist said students should remove distractions while driving and focus their attention on the road.
“It’s that lack of attention that causes the crash, and that’s unfortunate, especially when you have multiple people in the vehicle that are injured or killed,”
Lindquist said.

Lindquist said driving during the night is more dangerous due to the lack of visibility on the road and decrease in temperature, which causes road conditions to worsen. He said students should plan to leave Moscow early in the morning, so they can reach their destination before the sun
goes down.

Lindquist runs a monthly Alive at 25 awareness program through the police department that aims to educate young people on the dangers and responsibilities
of driving.

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