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Storm causes hazardous roads, many wrecks
A tractor trailer tanker truck went off Wyoming Highway 789 and jackknifed on a hill, snapping the cab off the front of the vehicle. Photo by Eric Blom

Storm causes hazardous roads, many wrecks

Jan 8, 2014 - From staff reports

Motorists have been slipping and sliding their way through Fremont County this week due to snowfall and cold temperatures that have left area roadways icy and slick.

No serious injuries have been reported.

The problems began at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when local law enforcement was called to assist a woman who had gotten her orange Dodge Caliber stuck on Cooper Road behind Mountain View Cemetery. A slide-off incident was reported at 6:50 p.m. Saturday on Wyoming Highway 789 at Lyons Valley Road near Lander, where a gray Dodge Caravan slid off of the road.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, another van slid off of Red Canyon Road south of Lander, and officers responded to reports of a vehicle in a ditch at about 5 p.m. Sunday at the curve on Smith Road in Riverton.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office helped the Wyoming Highway Patrol right a tractor-trailer combination that tipped over at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday on Wyoming Highway 789 near Lyons Valley Road between Riverton and Lander. Officials said the driver of the three-axle freight truck simply tapped his brakes, causing his back end to fishtail in front of the vehicle. The combination traveled about 30-40 feet into the barrow ditch before tipping over on its side.

Several hours later, at about 11:50 p.m. Sunday, a 20-year-old man was driving his pickup truck at 65 miles per hour with the cruise control set when the vehicle flipped in the 1500 block of Missouri Valley Road north of Riverton. The truck reportedly struck a fence and tipped on its side.

The driver of the pickup and the tractor-trailer combination were cited for failure to maintain lane of travel.

Monday brought its share of wrecks, too, beginning at about 7:20 a.m. on Wyoming Highway 789 near Hudson. Officials said Rajean Fossen, 53, of Lander, was driving a 2014 Dodge pickup north when she lost control of the vehicle on the snow-packed roadway. She reportedly slid across the center line and into the path of a southbound 2008 Kenworth tractor-trailer combination pulling two trailers. The combination was driven by Marco Cardenas, 41, of Salt Lake City, who reportedly saw the pickup coming into his lane. He swerved about six feet to the right in an attempt to avoid a head-on crash, but officials said the left front corners of both vehicles collided. The Kenworth reportedly slid into the barrow ditch, while Fossen's vehicle came to rest in the center of the highway.

Northbound lanes were closed for about two hours as a result; Fossen was cited for failure to maintain her lane.

A traffic hazard was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Monday in the 500 block of South Federal Boulevard when a tractor-trailer combination reportedly jack-knifed, blocking the northbound lanes of travel. The semi was moved by 3:45 p.m.

The driver of a tractor-trailer rig was injured when his southbound truck crashed Monday afternoon on Beaver Rim on Wyoming 135 between Riverton and Sweetwater Station.

Highway Patrol investigators said Wayne Bearley, 32, of Thermopolis was driving for Ryan Brothers Trucking. He said he was reaching to the passenger side of the truck for a pack of cigarettes and failed to negotiate a curve, damaging about 130 feet of cable guardrail as it left the road. The truck ended up on its side. An unknown quantity of oil from the trailer was spilled. State troopers cited Bearley for failing to maintain a single lane of travel. He was transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital with injuries.

A local dad requested assistance at about 5:30 p.m. Monday in the 1700 block of North Eighth Street West, where his daughter reportedly drove a silver 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis off of the road. He said a local tow company would not move the vehicle until law enforcement cleared the scene.

A Riverton Police Department vehicle was struck by another car at about 10:20 p.m. Monday in a parking lot in the 1900 block of North Federal Boulevard. No damage was reported to either vehicle.

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