By Cowboy State Daily
A pair of truckers from Missouri died early Sunday morning after being trapped in packed snow in the cab and sleeper compartment of their semitrailer.
The truck lost its windshield, then the cab packed with snow as it slid forward and down an embankment, trapping Keith Koehler II, 39, and Tyler Judd, 40, inside, The Wyoming Highway Patrol reports.
“The deep snow solidified and trapped the driver and co-driver in the sleeper berth,” according to a preliminary online WHP report of the crash. “Neither man could self-extricate and were buried under approximately 2 feet of snow.”
The Volvo semitrailer was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 east of Evanston in Uinta County when the crash happened at about 2:15 a.m., the WHP reports.
When the truck drifted off the roadway, the driver overcorrected, causing it to overturn, leave the road and continue down an embankment, according to the WHP.
The impact caused the windshield to detach and the cab to pack full of snow as it slid, “trapping the driver and passenger in the cab,” the agency says.
Because of the depth of the embankment and darkness, the vehicle was not seen by passing motorists for about three hours. It was finally noticed by Wyoming Department of Transportation maintenance personnel.
The highway was dry and the weather clear at the time of the crash, the report says. The WHP is investigating the possibility the driver was fatigued or may have fallen asleep.
Another Weekend Fatality
The early Sunday morning incident was the second fatal crash on Wyoming highways in less than eight hours over the weekend.
A little after 5 p.m. Saturday, a 1999 Dodge Ram truck pulling a flatbed trailer south on Interstate 25 near milepost 67 lost control on an icy and snow-covered highway.
The truck and trailer jackknifed and overturned, killing a 49-year-old passenger in the truck, Adam Mitchell of Laporte, Colorado, the WHP says in a press release. Mitchell wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died at the crash scene.
The 15-year-old driver and another passenger, Jason Lopez, 49, of Fort Collins, Colorado, were transported to hospitals for treatment of undisclosed injuries.
The three weekend fatalities bring the early highway death count to seven so far in 2023. That compares to one by this time in 2022, eight in 2021 and three in 2020.