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Man killed after semi hits backhoe

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Aaron Baker
Photo shared by Aaron Baker.

ARCO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE 2/14/20: Idaho Transportation Department Transportation Technician Mark Reinke died at approximately 7 a.m. Thursday on westbound US-20 about five miles east of Arco.

He was driving a backhoe and had his seatbelt fastened when a semi hit the backhoe from behind.

Mark was killed while performing roadwork that served the public need.

“At ITD, we value every single employee, and losing any one of them is like losing a member of the family,” said ITD Director Brian Ness. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark’s loved ones, and to those in District 6 who had the privilege of working with Mark.”

Reinke started working for ITD last summer.

Mark is the 40th employee lost while on the job with ITD since 1960.

ORIGINAL: Idaho State Police report a 56-year-old Howe man died in a crash westbound US20-26 at milepost 253, 5 miles east of Arco Thursday around 7:06 a.m.

ISP reports Mark Reinke, 56, of Howe, was westbound on US20-26 in a backhoe, and Felipe Saldana Blanco, 64, of Terreton, was driving behind the backhoe in a 2005 Peterbilt semi pulling two trailers.  

Police say the Peterbilt struck the backhoe from behind, and both vehicles went off the right shoulder.  

A ground ambulance transported Reinke was to Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco, where he succumbed to his injuries. Next of kin has been notified.  

ISP said both Reinke and Saldana Blanco were wearing seatbelts.  

The westbound lanes of travel were blocked for approximately two hours.

The crash is under investigation by Idaho State Police.

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  1. So….we can assume Felipe Saldana Blanco wasn’t paying close ENOUGH attention to see something as ‘small’ as a backhoe? Wouldn’t it be lovely if–just ONCE–this sort of ‘professional driver’ actually be held responsible (aka; PRISON) for ending some innocent’s life by THEIR ‘oops’? 🙁

  2. Chances are that Felipi does not have a Commercial Drivers License. Farmers are not required, nor are their employees to have a CDL to haul agriculture products. Farmers do not even have to secure the loads (hay and straw) on farm trucks. Most backhoes are yellow in color and most everything outside right now is white, a little hard to miss a 18,000 pound backhoe. I own both semi trucks and backhoes and can talk from experience that people are too distracted when driving.

    1. You’re right, ihm. I knew that, but had forgotten it.
      I would also add that–over decades of driving in the southeast Idaho area–I have noticed an abundance of drivers (professional, ‘professional’, AND civilian) who have what I would call a VERY LOW distraction ‘threshold’. While there is no SINGLE commonality (age, race, gender, etc.) for those drivers, there are some that should be legally prohibited from having a RADIO/open package of GUM in their vehicles, let alone a cell-phone, which is usually smartER than its operator!
      Regardless, Idaho’s–or any OTHER state’s–Right to Farm–legislation should NEVER take precedence over the ‘right’ of others to LIVE. Unfortunately, as occurs with MOST such ‘accidents’, the guilty party will most likely NOT be held accountable for their mistakes.
      Mr. Reinke’s life was cut WAY TOO short by the egregious stupidity of another. R.I.P.

  3. What farm, praytell was Senor Blanco driving for?
    Was he grooving to Musica Super Caliente as he motored along not paying attention?
    Illegal alien? No proper or valid driver’s license?
    Throw both him and his employer to the wolves!

    1. MY dislike of illegals is probably as much as yours, Hugh. However, a ‘farmer’, etc. would have to be truly brain-dead in order to let a driver operate heavy equipment sans (a LEGITIMATE) driver’s license. Among other things, that’s something that could turn those infamous ‘Good Hands’ into a damned FINE middle finger when it came time to USE your insurance. 😉

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