A Nooksack Valley High School student was in critical condition and could be paralyzed after undergoing spinal surgery to repair damage from a recent Highway 9 crash. Jennifer L. Boss, 16, of Everson had a fractured skull and concussion, a collapsed lung and severe spinal cord injuries, according to two of her close friends. They said doctors removed her appendix and spleen and stopped the internal bleeding at St. Joseph Hospital before sending her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The cause of the crash is in question. According to initial trooper reports, the dump truck, driven by Carlos L. Wilkins, 43, of Maple Falls, had the proper permits for the oversize load but not the proper warning labels. The load was lacking warning flags on the outside of the tractor to show how wide the load was and didn’t have the required “pilot cars” in front and behind the dump truck, Rudeen said. The trooper report also said the tractor wheels were hanging over the centerline.
Serious accidents like this that happen on state highways are investigated by the State Patrol’s MAIT (Major Accident Investigation Team) unit.