Wyoming is well known for its rugged scenery and wild weather. Over the past few days, Interstate 80, a major interstate highway running through The Cowboy State, is keeping up its title as one of the most dangerous highways in any climate.
Two truckers lose their lives after their windshield breaks and the cab fills with snow
Keith Koehler II, 39, and passenger Tyler Judd, 40, both from Missouri, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 22. At around 2:15 a.m., their Volvo truck veered off the highway and down into the median in Uinta County, outside Evanston, Wyoming.
Koehler attempted to straighten the tractor-trailer, but over-corrected and rolled the truck onto its driver’s side. The truck skidded down an embankment, where 2-foot-deep snow was funneled into the cab through the broken windshield.
Both men passed away after being trapped by the packed snow. Due to the night-time darkness and depth of the embankment, the tractor-trailer was undetected by passing drivers for roughly three hours.
Wyoming Department of Transportation maintenance workers finally noticed the damaged vehicle. Troopers were notified at 5:39 a.m. The highway patrol says driver inattention and fatigue may have contributed to the wreck.
An alleged drunk, wrong-way driver causes a chain-reaction crash that kills five, and critically injures multiple others
Later that same day around 7 p.m., an alleged intoxicated driver was traveling the wrong way on I-80 outside Rawlins, Wyoming. That driver, unnamed in the local news outlet Casper Star-Tribune, caused a string of events that would end up killing five and injuring scores more.
A tractor-trailer had to take evasive actions to avoid the Dodge 3500 pickup truck that had already hit one passenger car. A second trucker had to dive into the median to avoid that pile-up, causing his truck to slide into the opposite lane and directly impact a Ford F-150.
Both trucks burst into flames afterward, causing egregious injuries to the Ford truck’s passengers. All five occupants passed away sadly. A multitude of additional victims of the pileups to follow were transported to area hospitals with a variety of injuries.
Authorities arrested the driver of the Dodge pickup on suspicion of being under the influence while behind the wheel. That person, who was not identified, may face additional charges after the investigation is complete, Wyoming State Patrol told reporters.