Valley Loses Four Lives Two Days Into ‘Deadliest’ Driving Season
Fatal crash still under investigation by Sheriff’s Office
by Eric Valentine of The Weekly Sun
The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day, known nationwide as the 100 deadliest days of driving, got off to a traumatic start in the Wood River Valley last week. On Wednesday, May 29, a head-on collision killed an elderly Sun Valley couple, a young Ketchum woman and her golden retriever dog who had been inseparable from her for years.
The accident occurred just south of the Elkhorn Road intersection on Highway 75, blocking traffic from just before 10 a.m. until the early afternoon and sending two generations of residents here reeling from the shock and sadness sudden, unexpected tragedy brings.
The victims were Peter Jarvis, 82, of Sun Valley, his wife Sally Jarvis, who was also 82, and Piper Reed, 34, of Ketchum. Reed’s dog Remi was also killed in the accident.
The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the accident is still under investigation as of press deadline Tuesday and any determination of the cause won’t be known for a couple of weeks. Here’s what the Sheriff’s Office knows now:
A 2010 black Volvo driven by Peter Jarvis was traveling southbound on Hwy. 75 when it left its lane, crossed over the center-lane divider, and entered into the northbound lane of traffic. Jarvis’ vehicle struck a 2007 White Toyota pickup driven by Reed. Mr. Jarvis died at the scene. His passenger and wife, Sally Jarvis, later died at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.
Reed also passed away from her injuries at the hospital. Reed’s dog, Remi, was killed in the collision.
All occupants were wearing seatbelts and no other vehicles were involved in the accident.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to all those involved in this collision,” Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins wrote in a public statement. “We also would like thank our first responders for the extremely difficult and challenging job they often face. Our community has already experienced several tragedies this year on our roadways, and I would like to remind everyone to drive safely, drive respectfully, and drive undistracted.”
Given the high visibility and severity of the accident, first responders were especially challenged at the scene to tend to the victims and divert traffic safely. After the incident, officials were encouraging firefighters and paramedics to utilize the peer support specialists who were dispatched to provide counseling for first responders.
Peter Jarvis was born in Iowa, raised near Seattle, and spent 23 years as a superior court judge in King County, Wash. Jarvis attended Dartmouth College and graduated from the University of Washington in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in business before graduating from the University of Washington Law School in 1962. He spent two years as a prosecuting attorney for King County, 20 years in private practice there, followed by the two-plus-decade run as judge.
Sally Jarvis married Peter in 1959. Together they raised four children and had 12 grandchildren. The Jarvises moved to their most recent residence in Elkhorn roughly five years ago. Before that, they owned half a duplex in Sagehill since 1981. The Jarvises were enthusiastic skiers, hikers, bikers, golfers and pickleball players. According to their niece, Eve-Marie Bergen, the Jarvises skied 70 days this past ski season.
Piper Tabriz Reed was born in Warwick, N.Y., on March 11, 1985. A graduate of Boise State University with a B.S. in sociology, she was a well-known and beloved member of the Wood River Valley community and a true inspiration to all who knew her.
“Spunky would be an understatement,” said Reed’s one-time schoolmate Brennan Rego and publisher of The Weekly Sun. “When Piper was in a room, you knew Piper was in the room, always in a positive way.”
A mountain girl through and through, Piper became a wildland firefighter, a wilderness first responder, a certified trainer, an avid hunter and fisherman, and a ski racer for the Sun Valley Ski Team and Lowell Whiteman School. She worked at several local establishments, including High Altitude Fitness, Enoteca, Sawtooth Brewery, and the Cookbook.
Piper had recently completed her training with the Ketchum & Sun Valley Volunteer Association to be a volunteer firefighter here. Although Reed kept no public profile on social media, scores of friends and acquaintances shared their thoughts and feelings across Facebook and beyond this past week, many of them still in utter shock that a woman in her prime could be so suddenly cut down.
“We lost a great young firefighter in a traffic accident today. Piper Reed had just completed the academy. We are devastated. No words can express our pain,” the Ketchum & Sun Valley Volunteer Association said on its social media page.