A car crash on December 29 took the life of a Coeur d’Alene teenager and left his older brother in serious condition.
NIC student Jonah Leeder, 20, remains under care at Harborview Medical Center after the collision occurred on Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, just east of the Fourth Street exit. Jacob Leeder, 16, was killed in the accident.
Jonah was driving when he attempted to merge into the left lane in weathered conditions, causing the car to spin out and came to a perpendicular stop in the right lane. William E. Swan II, 45, of Coeur d’Alene, was traveling eastbound when he struck Leeder’s car from the side.
Swan was arrested at the scene on suspicion of multiple charges including driving without privileges and aggravated DUI. Swan refused a blood alcohol test but reportedly smelled of alcohol and showed impaired speech.
According to the Coeur d`Alene Press, the first to arrive was local resident Randy Tetzner, who described the scene as other motorists began giving CPR and watching out for semi-trucks and traffic.
“I want the parents to know how brave the older son was. You could tell he was scared to death, but he was thinking of nothing but his brother,” Tetzner said.
A GoFundMe account was created by the Leeder family including Jacob and Jonah’s parents, Wendy Leeder and Sgt. Tim Leeder of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Wives group. So far, it has reached a total of $33, 151, exceeding the goal of $30,000.
Jacob Leeder attended and played football for Coeur d’Alene High School at the time of the crash, and Jonah is an alumnus of CHS. Grief counseling was made available to CHS students.
“The Leeder family expressed that they are extremely grateful to all the staff for their compassion during this traumatic event,” said CHS Principal Troy Schueller.
Attendees at the January 20th memorial service for Jacob were encouraged to wear CHS apparel or CHS football jerseys.
“Jake loved CHS and his football family,” said Scott Maben, Director of Communications for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools.
Charges against Swan have been updated to include vehicular manslaughter. His next court hearing is scheduled for January 30th.