The driver of a white pickup was killed when the truck collided head-on with a coal mine transport bus south of Wright, Wyoming, on Sunday.
The crash happened at about 7:30 a.m., said Rod Orullian, an oil field semitrailer driver who witnessed the aftermath of the crash for more than two hours.
The driver of the truck has been identified as Nicholas Finnian Mahoney, 25, of Littleton, Colorado, Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem told Cowboy State Daily on Monday morning. He's believed to have died instantly at the scene, he said.
The crash happened on Highway 59 near its intersection with Cosner Road, and the impact pushed the bus into a nearby field, he said.
“It probably rolled about 600, 700 yards before coming to a stop,” Orullian said, adding that he arrived just after law enforcement but before medical help.
“The (Campbell County) Sheriff’s Office had just pulled up on the highway when I got there,” Orullian said. “But nobody could get out of the bus out in the field yet.”
Orullian said he watched as emergency responders extricated the driver of the Dakota Trailways bus and take the diver away in an air ambulance helicopter. Nobody else on the bus appeared to be hurt.
The driver “was the only one life-flighted, and I didn’t see anyone else,” he said. “The ambulance didn’t roll out with sirens or anything.
“There was the driver, who was hurt, but the passengers were trapped on the bus. They couldn’t get out the doorway. They had to take them out the windows.”
He caught some of the response on video, which shows passengers on the bus passing backpacks and other bags through a window, then exit the bus on a ladder from the window.
He also said that for as hard as the impact appeared to be, those people on the bus “are lucky it didn’t roll there off the highway going into the field.”
A Dangerous Highway
As a truck driver who travels Highway 59 frequently, Orullian said he’s seen firsthand how dangerous that stretch of two-lane highway has become through Campbell County.
“There are so many people in a big hurry,” he said about people unsafely passing trucks on the road. “You can’t look down for a second. You always have to watch other people.
“I drive semitrucks, so there’s always somebody wanting to come around and get through you.”
He said with the amount of oil field traffic on Highway 59, it should be four lanes all the way through and that he sees people pass dangerously “every day.”
“You’ve got people passing on solid lines all the time,” Orullian said. “It honeslty should be four lanes all the way.”
Cowboy State Daily also reached out to the Wyoming Highway Patrol and Campbell County Fire Department but hadn’t heard back before the time this story was posted.