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Tragedy Strikes, Claiming 2-Year-Old’s Life In Evanston

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By Sheila McGuire, Uinta County Herald (reprinted with permission)

EVANSTON — The world can shatter in an instant.

The Evanston community was reminded of that this week when 2-year-old Niko Ringer was tragically killed after he darted into the street in front of a truck driven by an unidentified 19-year-old male at approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Twenty-four hours later, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil at the corner of 6th Street and Morse Lee, where the accident occurred, to remember a loving little boy taken too soon and to support those whose lives will never be the same.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Matt Arnell, the accident was just that — a “horrible set of circumstances” that resulted in unimaginable loss. Shortly before the accident, the boy’s parents — Tosha Scott and Aube Ringer — had taken a dirty diaper outside to the garbage, and now suspect the door hadn’t shut securely when they went back inside. Niko had been playing in the living room of his home in the area when he was momentarily left unattended, said Arnell. In those moments, the boy must have slipped out the door and into the street, directly in the path of the oncoming truck.

Arnell said the driver never saw the boy coming as it is believed he darted out from behind some shrubbery. The teen driver realized he had hit something and stopped, immediately calling 911 when he saw the boy. Arnell said a jogger who was in the area and witnessed the accident didn’t realize it was a child who was struck until he got closer to the scene.

An ambulance that was en route to Evanston Regional Hospital to pick up a patient for transfer to Utah came upon the accident just after it happened, said Arnell — so abruptly the driver had to hit the brakes to avoid again hitting the boy in the fading light of day. The ambulance crew quickly jumped out to care for him but discovered there was nothing they could do to save the child.

Though the incident is still under investigation and law enforcement have recovered the engine control module from the truck and the driver’s cellphone, Arnell said there is no indication that distraction, impairment or speed were factors in the accident.

As the community gathered on Wednesday night, music played softly in the background while family, friends and strangers shaken by the loss created a memorial to the round-faced blonde-haired boy smiling from picture frames on a candlelit table. Tonka trucks. Teddy bears. Balloons. Flowers. A dinosaur. An Evanston Police Department patch.

Few words were spoken as adults and children alike hugged one another and tears flowed.

Friends of the family who organized the vigil — Samantha Brumme, Amanda Oliver, Shelby Hutcherson, Marty Hawkins and KC Taylor — said the outpouring of love from the community has been overwhelming. Businesses including Walmart, Smith’s, The Posey Shoppe and High Country Behavioral Health donated vigil supplies, funds and services to support those grieving through every parent’s worst nightmare. Brumme said they also wanted to acknowledge the support of the Evanston Police Department, Uinta County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming Highway Patrol.

A fund called “For the Benefit of Niko” to help the family with funeral expenses has been established at Trona Valley Credit Union and is accepting donations.

Close friend of the family Kristina Brumme said only-child Niko liked to garden with his parents; being outside; playing with toy trucks, cars, dinosaurs and balloons; McDonald’s Happy Meals and loved his mom very much.

Speaking briefly at the vigil, Samantha Brumme thanked the community for the support and urged everyone to hug those they love a little tighter and care for one another, because the unthinkable can happen without any warning.

Then, with the simple words, “For Niko,” everyone raised their candles in silence toward the heavens.

Sometimes there just aren’t any other words to say.

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Fatal Crash: Speed, Substance Use, And Equipment Failure Identified As Possible Causes

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By County 17

A fatal motor vehicle accident occurred Wednesday morning that was possibly caused by driver fatigue, alcohol/drug use, and equipment failure, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

The incident occurred just before 9 a.m. around milepost 199 on Interstate 90 east of Sundance.

The driver, identified as 42-year-old Rapid City resident Kelsey Conner, lost control of his 2008 BMW X5 when the vehicle’s left rear tire tread separated from the tire. Conner’s vehicle exited the right side of the roadway and overturned.

Conner was not wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash.

Speed, alcohol/drug use, and equipment failure are all being investigated as potential contributing factors, per WHP officials.

This marks the 28th fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2021 compared to 24 in 2020, 50 in 2019, and 25 in 2018 to date.

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Virginia Man Dies In Snowboarding Accident In Jackson

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By Tom Ninneman, Cowboy State Daily

A 27-year-old Virginia man has died as the result of a snowboarding accident Sunday at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. 

While details of the incident are still not available, it appears Daniel Clark Tatum died of injuries suffered in a collision with a tree.  

According to a statement from the resort, a group of skiers reported Tatum missing at about 5 p.m. after last seeing him in the Grizzly Glade area off the Teton Lift at approximately 10:45 a.m.  

A search was initiated by Jackson Hole Ski Patrol Sunday evening until about 8:45 p.m. Sunday and was suspended until 6:30 am Monday, with Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Search and Rescue and Teton County Sheriff all involved in the search effort.  

Tatum was discovered in a tree well where he was found to be unresponsive. 

The accident is still under investigation. 

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Riverton Man Who Drowned in Ice Fishing Outing Identified

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By Joe Kenney, KOVE Radio

The Riverton man who drowned last Thursday during an ice fishing outing on Ocean Lake has been identified as 58 year old Richard Weliever.

Weliever died when the enclosed ATV he was riding in tipped on its side and fell into open water. The ATV sank trapping the man inside.

The vehicle reportedly tipped over and went into the water trapping the man and his dog  about a quarter mile from the shore. 

One person in the vehicle was able to get free and was pulled from the water by others in the fishing party.  The Fremont County Sheriff’s office reported that the men were brothers.  

Fremont County Search and Rescue crews along with Firefighters from the Fremont County Fire District assisted in the search.  Ice Divers with the Search and Rescue team were able to recover the victim in about 12 feet of water.

Fremont County Sheriff Ryan Lee indicated that frozen waters around the County have become compromised due to high winds and unseasonably warm temperatures.

The office issued a safety warning for anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to be extra cautious on the County’s lakes due to recent warm temperatures and high winds.

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