Bill Sniffin: 2 of 3 Wyoming’s ‘USA Record’ Triplets Killed In Crash

Two of the three triplets who were the heaviest ever at birth -- died in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 25 near Chugwater on Feb. 9.

Bill Sniffin

February 18, 20236 min read


Forty-four years after one of the most unusual births in Wyoming, two of the three triplets involved died in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 25 on Feb. 9.

Don and Patsy Parkin’s triplets made headlines not because of multiple births being unusual, but because these were the largest triplets ever. Born in a Torrington hospital, everyone involved were astonished by their size. 

Patsy said she had always planned to enter the boys’ birth sizes in the Guinness Book of World Records because they were bigger than the current record holder for being the largest triplets ever born in the United States. She still has the Guinness paperwork and a few years ago, checked and found her boys still were bigger than the ones listed in the book.

The mom says her two sons, Dan and Dave, were traveling home from Denver where they had gone for medical tests when something happened and their Ford F-350 pickup went off the road and crashed near Chugwater on I-25. 

Both were killed.

Normal Weight For Single Births

When born, the three boys weighed what would be normal each for a single large baby. Most twins or triplets are quite under-sized when born, which is expected, but not these boys.

Don weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. David came next at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Dan was last and weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces. Patsy lost 50 pounds in a half-hour during the births.

Patsy’s husband, Donald Sr., died in 2013 from complications of polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder, and they had recently discovered all three boys had inherited it. 

Dan and Dave’s fateful trip to Denver involved a lot of medical tests and getting Dan on the list for a kidney transplant. His dad also had a kidney transplant many years ago, which prolonged his life by five years. 

The father’s donor kidney came from their daughter Dalee, who did not inherit the disease.


In Dan’s obituary, Patsy wrote that when her husband was diagnosed with kidney disease, which gradually began to negatively affect his quality of life, Dan took over the tasks his dad had always done. 

For five years, Dan ferried his dad to Cheyenne three times a week for dialysis. When his father died, Dan stayed and made it possible for his mother to remain in her beloved home by doing all the essential, and often mundane, tasks.

“Dan was a champion firewood provider, fabulous yard maintainer, great errand runner and sympathetic cat caretaker along with hundreds of other tasks,” Patsy said. “Dan was a godsend to his aging parents and much appreciated by the entire family. He was such a special young man.”

Patsy wrote the following about her late son David in his obituary: “Dave graduated from Wheatland High School in 1997, where he was crowned Homecoming King as a senior. He then established a long and varied work history, including five years with Albany County Weed and Pest and 10 years with Dyno Nobel in Cheyenne.

“He was very involved in helping out at the little family farm in Nebraska where the entire family spent many summers and built many memories. He even tried college at UW for one semester, perhaps earning the lowest GPA in their history. He didn’t seem to realize that ‘Parkin Time,’ which means ‘late to everything,’ doesn’t work for college classes. He was obsessed with old vehicles, computer games and cats.”

About That Birth

Patsy said she was teaching school at the time of the pregnancy and just kept getting bigger and bigger. She had already had two children by this time, but she would feel the weakness in her bones and her teeth. 

Her feet and ankles were swollen all the time.

In those days, they did not have sonagrams and everyone just thought she was going to have a really big baby.

Five years ago, Patsy wrote about the births of her big boys on their 39th birthdays:

“Do you have time for a quick miracle story? Thirty-nine years ago, I was in the hospital waiting for a miracle. I’d already had two miracles in my life – Darren in 1973 and Dalee in 1975 – and was expecting one more.

“The baby was slow in coming – I was huge. I had been in labor most of the day and the doctor (Dr. Ray Rutt) was not happy that he was going to miss his daughter’s ball game.

“Finally, around 1 a.m. they moved me down to the delivery room at the Torrington hospital. And after a pretty easy time of it, our baby was born at 1:22. A boy! 7 lbs. 15 oz. Our family was complete.

“Wait! Lots of activity at the far end of the table. I heard Dr. Rutt say something about breech. After some tense action-filled minutes, another boy was born at 1:30. He was 8 lbs. 2 oz.! Everyone was amazed. Big twins! Even though the doctor had said ‘one big baby,’ Don and I had discussed the possibility of twins considering my huge belly. Dr. Rutt had used his skill to turn the baby and save it from any breech birth problems. 

“Everyone gathered around to care for the new babies. A little nurse’s aide was the only one left standing beside me. She suddenly cried out, ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s another one!’ At 1:42 a.m. another boy, 7 lbs. 5 ounces, was born. The look that passed between Don and me – hoping they didn’t find another one in there – is indelible in my brain

“Donald William Jr., David Ray (middle name after Dr. Rutt), and Daniel Charles (named after my grandfather) were a total surprise, were born naturally, were full term, and took up the space that a person over 5-feet tall would fill. I lost 50 pounds in a half hour – wish I could do that an easier way now.

“The boys might be the biggest triplets ever born in the U.S. They were born on Wednesday. We took them home on Friday. Happy birthday to my miracle boys!”

No immediate funeral services are planned, but a celebration of the lives of the two brothers will be held sometime later this year, Patsy said.

She encourages all people to please join an organ transplant volunteer list, because “transplants save lives.” 

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.