Paramedics had hands full with massive crash: 'It was absolute chaos'

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - Paramedics had their hands full with the 46-car crash, going from car to car checking on the condition of everyone involved.

Ada County Paramedics had seven ambulances on scene, and said their resources were getting stretched thin.

"I've seen a lot of accidents out on the freeway," Ada County Paramedics Deputy Director Shawn Rayne said. "But I don't know if I've ever seen one with that many vehicles stretched over that length of distance."

Rayne has been with Ada County Paramedics for 18 years,but calls the 46-car pile-up chaos.

Absolute chaos," he said. "It was probably between a quarter mile to a half mile of cars just destroyed all the way down the freeway. It was pretty chaotic."

But Rayne says it's a paramedics job to organize the chaos on scene. First responders went one by one to each car involved, checking on people inside.

Paramedics use what's called the START triage method to quickly assess injuries. They look at pulse, breathing rate and level of consciousness. Then they categorize patients based on how serious their injuries are.

Even with all the cars, that initial triage process took paramedics just 10 minutes.

"It happens pretty quick," Rayne said. "I think each patient is about 30 seconds to do that quick triage."

Ada County Paramedics say 10 people were injured and transported to the hospital, and that only two suffered more serious injuries. Considering what they came up against, paramedics are calling the outcome fortunate.

"The thing that I was really impressed with is that we didn't have any fatalities, and there certainly could have been," Rayne said. "We were lucky that people weren't hurt worse than they were."