By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon will speak at a Gillette event this week honoring the memory of eight University of Wyoming students killed in a car crash 20 years ago.
Gordon will be taking part in the “Memory of the 8” event to be held Thursday.
The eight cross-country runners were killed in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2001. The car the group was riding in from Fort Collins, Colorado, back to Laramie was struck head-on by a pickup truck driven by Clinton Haskins, also a UW student, about 17 miles south of Laramie on U.S. Highway 287.
“The governor is attending to honor the memory of these students, whose lives were cut short by this tragedy,” Gordon spokesman Michael Pearlman told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “He also recognizes the importance of this event to the families and wants to show his support for their work in preserving their memory.”
Pearlman noted that Gordon also wants to support the efforts of the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving, which was started under former Gov. Matt Mead’s administration.
Killed in the accident were Nick Schabron and Joshua Jones of Laramie, Kyle Johnson of Riverton, Morgan McLeland of Gillette, Shane Shatto of Douglas, Kevin Salverson of Cheyenne, Cody Brown of Hudson, Colorado, and Canadian Justin Lambert-Belanger of Timmons, Ontario.
Haskins, who was a member of the UW rodeo team, crossed the highway in his Chevy and hit Schabron’s vehicle, killing all eight of the men inside. Haskins was the only person who survived the crash, and his blood-alcohol content was 0.16%. At the time, under Wyoming law, anyone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.1% was considered intoxicated.
He was sentenced to 14 to 20 years for eight counts vehicular homicide and was released in 2011.
A similar situation occurred earlier this year on U.S. Highway 287, when three UW students were killed in an accident several miles south of the Wyoming/Colorado state line.
The students killed were: Sienna Potter, 18, a first-year student in early childhood education who attended high school outside of London but had family in Laramie; Rebecca Marley, 19, a first-year student in marketing who attended high school in Dubai and had family in The Woodlands, Texas; and William Malone, 21, a senior in computer science from Fort Collins, Colorado.
Two other UW students were injured in the crash.