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Accident

Jeffree Star Suffers Broken Back, Fractures From Car Accident Near Casper

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

YouTuber and makeup mogul Jeffree Star has shared a multitude of updates regarding his health and well-being following a rollover car accident on Friday morning.

“I’m in excruciating pain because part of my back is broken and I have vertebrae fractures on my spine. My doctor said it will take a few months but I should make a full recovery,” Star wrote on Twitter on Friday following the accident, which he called one of the scariest moments of his life.

Star and his best friend Daniel Lucas were involved in the accident on Friday morning on Hat Six Road near Casper. They were driving northbound when Star’s Rolls Royce hit some slush, causing the car to go off the roadway and roll multiple times.

Lucas, who suffered from internal injuries in the crash, was taken to Las Vegas for surgery, according to Star. Lucas has been treated for colon cancer multiple times, creating medical complications.

Star was discharged from the Wyoming Medical Center on Saturday. He posted photos of his Rolls Royce over the weekend, saying how grateful he was the vehicle was made from reinforced steel, which he said kept Lucas and him alive.

“The pain is 10 times worse than yesterday but we are doing ok. Love you guys so much,” he wrote on Sunday.

The makeup mogul, whose line Jeffree Star Cosmetics is worth about $1.5 billion, is planning a launch for his new line Star Lounge this week, and is attempting to not let the car accident slow him down.

He was still in pain as of Monday morning, but noted that some close friends and family flew in to Wyoming to see him.

Star spent much of the weekend retweeting photos from fans meeting him and Lucas at various events over the years, as well as a post from Lucas saying he wanted to be healthy.

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Jeffree Star Injured In Car Rollover Near Casper

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

YouTuber and makeup mogul Jeffree Star was injured in a rollover collision near Casper on Friday.

In a Twitter post shared to Star’s account Friday, a photo showed the Star lying in a hospital bed wearing a neck brace. He was holding the hand of his best friend, Daniel Lucas.

“A few hours ago Jeffree and Daniel were in a severe car accident and the car flipped 3 times after hitting black ice,” the post said. “We will update you all when the doctor gives us more info. So thankful they are both alive.”

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck, Star and Lucas were driving on the Hat Six Road northbound when they encountered some slush in the roadway around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

The car then went off the road and rolled over. Beck didn’t have information on whether Star and Lucas were wearing seatbelts, how fast the vehicle was going or even who was actually driving the car.

“I honestly don’t know a lot about what happened, but we’re still investigating everything,” Beck told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

Star and Lucas were taken to the Wyoming Medical Center following the crash and were still there as of early Friday afternoon.

Star has been living in the Casper area since the fall, after he bought a ranch where he could write his autobiography. He has regularly been seen around town since then.

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Cheyenne Gym’s Roof Collapses After Major Snowstorm

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne gym’s roof collapsed due to the nearly 3 feet of snowfall that blanketed the city over the weekend.

CrossFit Frontier was one of the casualties of the recent blizzard, which shut down much of southeastern Wyoming for a second day on Tuesday.

Half of the gym’s roof collapsed on Monday night, the gym said in a social media post.

“Obviously we will be closed for the foreseeable future,” the post said. “We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help with moving things from the gym. However, at this time it is still not safe to be inside as there is still a lot of snow accumulated on the non collapsed side of the building.”

It didn’t appear anyone was hurt when the roof collapsed and all classes had been canceled at the gym on Monday.

The gym’s current location is in the 2400 block of East Seventh Street in Cheyenne, but obviously, a move will be in the business’ future. CrossFit Frontier has been open since 2011, according to its website.

“In the mean time be on the look out for more at home workouts to get you through until we can get reopened,” the gym wrote. “As always, thank you all for your love and support.”

Much of southeastern Wyoming has been affected by the storm in one way or another. Although portions of central and western Wyoming began to see traffic move again on the state’s highways on Tuesday, roads in and out of Cheyenne remained blocked by the heavy snow dropped by the blizzard.

Government offices and schools remained closed in Cheyenne on Tuesday and the Legislature, which rarely stops its work because of weather conditions, suspended proceedings for a second day as the city continued its efforts to clear the roads around the community.

The weekend blizzard left 31 inches of snow on Cheyenne, breaking a 42-year-old record, and the Cheyenne Police Department, on its Facebook page, predicted it could take city snowplow crews several days to finish clearing snow from the community’s roads.

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Two Side-By-Side Rec Vehicles Crash Through Ice At Buffalo Bill Reservoir in Park County

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two side-by-side recreational vehicles crashed through the ice on the Buffalo Bill Reservoir this weekend, prompting the Park County Sheriff’s Office to remind everyone about proper ice recreation safety.

On Sunday, the two vehicles broke through the ice on the North Fork side of the reservoir near Cedar Mountain Point. No one was hurt in the incident and the owners of the vehicles were able to retrieve them without assistance.

However, the Park County Sheriff’s Office used the incident as an educational moment to remind everyone that proper ice recreation safety can mean the difference between life and death.

The thickness of the ice on various bodies of water is very inconsistent this time of year. As the weather continues to warm up, the ice will become more dangerous, the office said.

Certain areas may seem safe but may be very close to areas that are less stable. Anyone who decides to go out on to the ice should always wear a personal floatation device.

Any number of conditions, including stress fractures, air pockets, or overly fatigued ice can cause otherwise strong ice to give way. Without a personal floatation device, a victim can drown within 2 to 15 minutes, depending on the water temperature, due to loss of voluntary muscle control.

Sheriff Scott Steward recommended people not travel onto the ice at this time due to the warm weather and rapidly deteriorating conditions. For those that do venture out on open ice, carry a pair of “ice awls” or “ice picks” with them, preferably on a loop hung around their necks.

“These devices held in each hand will enable the victim to self-rescue by gripping the ice, allowing the victim to pull themselves up and out of the water,” Steward said.

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Three UW Students Killed, Two Injured In Weekend Car Crash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Three University of Wyoming students were killed and two were injured, one critically, in a two-car collision south of the Wyoming state line over the weekend.

The accident occurred late Saturday afternoon on U.S. Highway 287, several miles south of the Wyoming/Colorado state line, according to the university.

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. One was reported to be in critical condition Monday at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado. The other was hospitalized in Fort Collins.

Three other UW students, traveling in a third vehicle, witnessed the accident.

“Words fail us, as they simply can’t express our sadness,” UW president Ed Seidel said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken for the families, their friends and our entire community.”

The university’s dean of students office has been in contact with all of the family members of the victims and will continue to reach out to those close to those involved in the accident.

“During what has been an extremely challenging academic year for all of us, this unspeakable loss seems to be almost more than our community can bear,” Seidel said. “As we grieve the loss of these students and seek to recover from other tragic and distressful developments in recent weeks and months, let’s do our best and pull together, support those who are suffering, and show the compassion and kindness that characterize what it means to be part of this community.”

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Teton County Search and Rescue Saves Eight Stranded Snowmobilers

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Eight snowmobilers were saved on Thursday by Teton County Search and Rescue after becoming lost on Beartooth Pass.

According to the SAR team, it was contacted Thursday morning by Park County to do an aerial search for the group of snowmobilers that were reportedly lost on the pass.

The group hadn’t been seen or heard from since Wednesday and spent the night out in the elements.

Park County’s Search and Rescue team determined the group’s location, about six miles from the nearest trailhead, and requested a helicopter evacuation.

The aircraft loaded up two Teton County SAR volunteers and a ranger from Grand Teton National Park and flew to Cody to refuel. The team then flew to the site and successfully transported all eight snowmobilers to safety.

In the past few weeks, the team has responded to incidents in Fremont, Lincoln, and Park counties, as well as Grand Teton National Park. The team has been called out more this year than all of last season.

“We still have very motivated rescuers who are eager to help out in any way they can,” said Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr. “We have this amazing resource available and if another county needs it, we’re absolutely happy to help out.”

Since the beginning of the year, the team has been called out 31 times — responding to events including five fatalities, three involving avalanches. Of the 31 responses, 24 resulted in active missions, more than during the entire previous winter season.

Three people have died in avalanches in northwestern Wyoming since mid-February, two snowboarders and one snowmobiler.

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Lander Woman Provides Eyewitness Account of Togwotee Avalanche Rescue Mission

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Lander woman was having a normal day last week when she came across the search and rescue mission for the Togwotee avalanche that ultimately claimed the life of a Jackson snowboarder.

Kathi McKee and her husband were about 10 miles from Togwotee Pass and managed to catch much of the rescue on camera, through photos and video.

“We had parked here for the day and when we returned, the helicopter was flying overhead with a SAR person hanging from a rope with the patient bundled in an orange sleeping bag-type bundle,” McKee said.

Michael McKelvey, 31, a seasonal resident of Jackson, died after being caught in an avalanche Thursday near Wind River Lake near the top of Togwotee Pass.

Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart said a group of snowboarders had built a substantial “kicker” to launch up toward a slope, and when McKelvey landed, it triggered the slide, which Lockhart described as having a 5-foot crown. 

McKelvey was totally buried, but was wearing a beacon and his companions were able to uncover him and begin life support efforts. 

Members of Teton County Search and Rescue were training on snowmobiles a short distance away and were on the scene within 10 to 15 minutes. 

McKee said Teton County Search and Rescue stopped traffic to allow the helicopter to circle and land, so McKelvey could be placed inside and flown to a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

“So professionally done. Amazing!” she said.

According to recreation website Teton Gravity Research, McKelvey had been an active member of the Jackson snowboarding community for years.

According to an Instagram post, McKelvey was buried under 12 feet of snow during the avalanche.

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Caught On Video: 18-Wheeler Blows Over On Highway 85 in Southeastern Wyoming

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Living in Wyoming, we all know the dangers of driving in high wind. Even low-profile vehicles can get blown off the road.

On Monday, however, it was one of those days were numerous vehicles fell victim to the February winds.

First it was the Amazon semi that nearly blew off a bridge south of Chugwater on I-25.

Later in the day, a wind gust toppled another 18-wheeler but this time on Wyoming Highway 85 which makes its way through Hawk Springs, Torrington, and Lingle.

But the difference in this wreck is that someone’s dashcam was on and recorded the incident.

“This was intense to watch and a complete fluke to have captured on film this afternoon,” Beth Wood said. “Driver is ok. Thank you to the good people, volunteer fire departments, and dispatch today!”

“PSA: Wyoming’s wind is NO joke! Use caution, people,” she said.

Wood told Cowboy State Daily that she set-up her dashcam so she could show her kids what ‘sleeping semis’ (a phrase describing turned-over 18-wheelers) look like.

“It was a complete fluke that I got behind the semi that blew over in the video, simply because I was trying to get other footage for the kids,” Wood said.

“Growing up in southeast Wyoming I’ve seen lots of ‘sleeping semi’s’ on the side of the road, but have never witnessed it with my own eyes. My heart was definitely doing double time!”

Wood said as soon as her car stopped, she got on the phone and called 911 while two other motorists ran to check on the driver.

“While on the phone with dispatch, I saw one of the good folks jump up on the tipped over cab and pop the drivers door open and talk to the driver,” Wood said.

“A few minutes later another fellow came and told me the driver was ok and that they’d got the windshield broke out so the driver could get out,” she said.

Once EMS showed up, Wood took off because she said there was nothing else she could do.

“I left because my fiancé is on the Hawk Springs V.F.D. and nothing is more frustrating than the “extra” people who get in the way simply because they are ‘lookie-loos’” she said.

What’s crazy about this accident is that the truck blew over at nearly the same spot as another did earlier in the day.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation said 60+mph crosswinds will make an “extreme blowover event” like again Monday evening and Tuesday.

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