Small Town News


Woman killed in deer collision near New Meadows

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Being in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong instant ended the life of a Fruitland woman on Sunday, August 23.

At about 9:00 AM, Kristen Blehm, 39, of Redding, California, was traveling south on Highway 95 at milepost 158 west of New Meadows in a 2014 Subaru Outback. The speed limit there is 65 mph. When Blehm's car hit a deer that jumped into the highway in front of her, the deer was thrown into the air and directly into the windshield of pickup truck coming from the opposite direction.

Gail Church, 67, of Fruitland was in the passenger seat of the 2011 Chevy pickup and was killed when the deer came through the windshield.

Gail Church's son, Jeffery Church was driving the pickup, and her mother, 88-year-old Hilda Nuttrnan of Cottonwood, was in the back seat. Both were injured and transported by ground ambulance to St. Luke's McCall Medical Center. Blehm was not hurt.

Witnesses said the truck was barely scratched on the outside, except for the shattered windshield, but the inside looked as if a bomb exploded.

Gail Church was the wife of Payette County Commissioner Larry Church, and they had just celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary the previous week. They were taking Gail's mother home to Cottonwood when the accident happened.

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Original Publication Date: August 26, 2015

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