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Accident

Update: Evanston Woman Killed After Crashing Into Fireworks Warehouse

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By Sheila McGuire and Mark Tesoro, Uinta County Herald

A tragic accident claimed the life of a longtime Evanston resident early on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 14. Fidelina Saavedra, 66, was on her way to work when the car she was driving crashed into Phantom Fireworks on Overthrust Road.

A press release from the Evanston Police Department states officers responded to Phantom Fireworks at 7:14 Sunday morning after receiving a report that a vehicle had crashed into the building and smoke and fire were coming from the vehicle. The 911 caller said the airbags had deployed and it was not possible to tell if anyone was in the vehicle.

There were flames on the hood of the vehicle when officers arrived; however, they were able to locate one person inside and get her out for transport to Evanston Regional Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries. Officers on scene put out the fire using fire extinguishers.

According to the press release, an examination of the crash site showed that Saavedra’s vehicle had been traveling north on Overthrust Road prior to accelerating to a high rate of speed and leaving the roadway at the intersection of West Cheyenne Drive. The vehicle then traveled across the open field and through the parking lot prior to hitting the Phantom Fireworks building.

The EPD release states the events leading up to the crash are still under investigation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol is assisting in that investigation. The release also states, “The Evanston Police Department would like to remind everyone the value seatbelts play in saving lives and how important they [are], even in town.”

On Monday morning, Saavedra’s family remembered her as a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. The mother of five and grandmother of 18 was reportedly on her way to work at the Wyoming State Hospital at the time of the accident Sunday morning. They said she had worked as a kitchen aide at WSH for 15-16 years and had been planning on retirement early next year.

Saavedra’s children said their mother was a very kind and selfless woman who would do anything for anybody and was a good friend to everybody.

A devout Catholic, Saavedra loved to give blessings to people, was quick with a hug and a smile and was very social and loved to talk with anyone and everyone. Described as “all about family,” Saavedra also loved to travel to visit her siblings around the country.

As indicated in the press release, Saavedra’s family said they don’t know what happened prior to the crash other than she was on her way to work. They did say, however, that the speculation on social media was upsetting and stressed that their mother did not drink alcohol and that what happened was a terrible accident.

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Intoxicated Driver Collides Head-On With Semi North of Gillette, No Injuries

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By Ryan Lewallen, County 17

A Utah man was arrested late Wednesday night for driving while intoxicated after he reportedly collided head-on with a semi-tractor trailer north of Gillette, authorities said Wednesday.

The crash did not result in any injuries and occurred around 10:15 p.m. near milepost 148 on North Highway 59 just north of Heald Road, according to Campbell County Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds.

A 45-year-old male had been traveling south in a 2013 Dodge Ram 4500 when he drifted into the northbound lanes where a 42-year-old male was operating a Western Star semi.

The vehicles collided head-on; the resulting collision pushed the Dodge Ram into the east side ditch and the semi into the west ditch, per Reynolds.

Both vehicles came to rest upright in pastures on either side of the road, according to a release from the Campbell County Fire Department, with each vehicle sustaining over $1,000 in damage.

Emergency Medical Services cleared both drivers of any injuries, Reynolds said.

While WHP troopers were investigating the crash, the 45-year-old male was allegedly found to be intoxicated and was taken into custody.

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Park County School Bus Slides Off Slick Road

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By the Powell Tribune

A Powell school bus driver and student were not injured when a bus slid off a slick road around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The bus had just made its first stop and went around the corner on Road 8 and Lane 4.

It traveled about 300 yards down the road, bucking a few drifts, said Stephen Janes, transportation supervisor for Park County School District 1, then ‘a big wind gust came up [and] pushed the bus to the shoulder.

The soft shoulder gave out and sucked the bus into the ravine.’ Two people on the bus — the driver and one student — were OK, Janes said. ‘We were able to get the bus pulled out a little later in the day,’ he said.

The bus has some damage to the driver’s side, Janes said, ‘but should be back on the road soon.’

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Four Animals Hit on Sublette County Roads in Less Than An Hour; Cow Survives

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

After four animals were hit by vehicles in the span of less than an hour, the Sublette County Sheriff’s office put out a reminder to the public that wildlife this time of year is more likely to be on and around Wyoming’s roads.

“We are at that time of year when animals are migrating, its darker longer and harder to see them. So slow down and give animals a ‘brake’,” the office said in a statement.

Between 5:40am – 6:30am on Tuesday, four animals were struck including two deer, one moose, and a cow. Of those, only the cow survived. No people were injured in the accidents.

“The cow is OK,” Sgt. Travis Bingham told Cowboy State Daily. “It walked off. The moose was pretty messed up so they had to put it down. The cow was in good shape, however, with no injuries.”

The spate of vehicle vs. animal accidents in such a short time frame is unusual, Bingham said. But this time of year, motorists should expect to see wildlife on the road, especially between dusk and dawn.

The best way to avoid problems, he said, is to slow down and to stay vigilant.

“Pay particular attention to the barrow ditches on both sides of the road because they can come out of nowhere,” he said.

Although Sublette County does have elevated wildlife crossings and higher fences on some roads to keep wildlife off of busy highways, these could lead motorists to have a false sense of security.

“People think because of the bridges and bigger game fences that the roads will be clear,” Bingham said. “They think animals can’t possibly be on the road, but they still get through.”

Saying that, Bingham did say that the wildlife crossings have made roads safer for both motorists and animals.

“Deer used to get slaughtered through some of these areas,” he said. “So they’ve helped but they still get through.”

Upon approaching wildlife on a highway, sometimes the best strategy is just to apply the brakes and plow into them, he said.

“Swerving into oncoming traffic is a horrible idea because the last thing you want is a head-on,” he said. “And you don’t want to swerve into a ditch either. And you don’t want to lock your breaks with someone right behind you.”

“Sometimes it’s just better to take the hit if you can’t stop and react fast enough rather than to try to swerve,” he said.

Bingham said there have been 128 collisions with wildlife so far this year in Sublette County. Of those accidents, 73% have involved deer. Moose and antelope account for 20% of the accidents.

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Homeless Man Run Over By Semi-Truck In Downtown Cheyenne

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A homeless man was killed Sunday afternoon when he was run over by a semi-truck, Cheyenne police said Monday.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Cheyenne police responded to an incident in downtown Cheyenne in which a man had been run over by a semi. The preliminary investigation showed the man may have fallen asleep after crawling underneath the semi’s trailer.

When the driver returned and started the vehicle, the man underneath was run over by the rear wheels of the trailer as the truck pulled forward.

The victim was identified as Paul Griego, 55. He sustained life-threatening injuries and was declared dead at the scene.

Detectives believe the incident was an accident and are looking to identify and speak with the semi driver.

If anyone has information about the accident, contact CPD at 307-637-6521.

This is the second incident of a person being run over in Cheyenne occurring in less than a week. Last week, during Cheyenne Frontier Days, a man was run over at Frontier Park after he fell out of the bed of a truck he was exiting.

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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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