An 83-year-old Texas man driving a Cadillac Escalade may have caused the fatal head-on collision that killed a Casper father and son, along with himself.
The man, identified by Wyoming Highway Patrol as Peter A. Sherman, was driving south on U.S. Highway 20 south of Thermopolis at about 10 a.m. Saturday when he attempted to pass another southbound vehicle and collided head-on with a 2014 BMW X-6 traveling north.
Also killed were Mauro E. Diaz, 52, a Natrona County High School teacher, and his juvenile son, the WHP reports. All were wearing seat belts and properly restrained.
Diaz’s son, Mateo, was transported to Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, “where he succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash,” according to the WHP.
Driver inattention on the part of Sherman is being investigated as a “possible contributing factor” in the crash, which closed the Wind River Canyon highway for hours Saturday following the collision, the Highway Patrol reports.
The deaths are the 88th, 89th and 90th of the year so far in 2022 on Wyoming roadways, the Highway Patrol reports. That compares to 86 in 2021, 100 in 2020 and 120 in 2019.
Hockey Community Mourns
The Wyoming hockey community has asked for a “sticks out” vigil in memory of Mauro and Mateo Diaz.
The Casper Oilers Hockey club in a Sunday Facebook post said young Mateo, a team member, “made quite the impression on everyone he came in contact with.”
The club has asked the hockey community to leave their hockey sticks on their front porches this week, with porch lights on, “to honor the terrific young man that he was.”
The sticks-out vigil is a “time-honored tradition” of memorializing lost teammates, the club said.
“Many of us knew (Mateo) from the time he was born and enjoyed watching him grow up and follow in the hockey footsteps of his brothers,” the club said.
Mateo’s father, Mauro, taught at Natrona County High School.
The Natrona County School District extended its condolences to all who are close to the Diaz family and to the community they called home.
“Our deepest sympathies, prayers, and condolences are with the family, friends, school communities, and our entire community,” wrote Tanya Southerland, district spokeswoman, in a Monday email to Cowboy State Daily. “As we grieve and process this tragedy and tremendous loss there are additional counseling services available to students and staff, as may be needed. Again, our sincere condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the family.”
Mauro Diaz’s friend Shawn Bulle posted Sunday that Mauro was a married father of three boys.
Mauro’s wife and Mateo’s mother, another post said, is in intensive care in the hospital.