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Children injured critically in wreck

Wintry road conditions result in several crashes Tuesday

Mar 18, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Two Lander children were transported to Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning after being injured in a two-vehicle accident on Wyoming Highway 789 near Lyons Valley Road.

Officials said the children, ages 3 and 6, stopped breathing after the 7:30 a.m. crash but were resuscitated by ambulance crews and Lander Regional Hospital emergency room personnel.

"Both were full arrest at the scene. ... They had no pulses," ambulance director Joseph Zillmer said. "Both are in critical condition, but we have hope."

The mother of the children, who also was involved in the wreck but was not critically injured, was en route to Salt Lake with the younger child at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to Zillmer. He said the children's father would travel to Salt Lake with the 6-year-old "shortly."

"They're getting the best possible care they can get," Zillmer said.

He added that three people in the other vehicle involved also were not critically injured.

"One of those is being treated in the ER," Zillmer said. "The other two are fine."

He normally does not handle communication with the media regarding injuries in traffic accidents, but Zillmer reached out to The Ranger on Tuesday to address misinformation by other local news agencies.

"They reported two children deaths on the scene -- that is inaccurate," Zillmer said. "I was so afraid that the family would've called a friend who called another friend who said they read (that) those kids both died. They're not dead."

Zillmer spoke mid-morning Tuesday.

Wyoming Highway Patrol officials said the mother was driving toward Riverton when she lost control of her gray Chevy Suburban on the hill near milepost 87 on Wyoming Highway 789. WHP trooper Bob Cecrle said the Suburban went into a broadside slide and collided with an oncoming 2500 Dodge Ram three-quarter ton pickup truck carrying three male construction workers from Riverton.

"The passenger side of the Suburban got hit broadside, or close to broadside, by the white pickup truck," Cecrle said.

The pickup reportedly spun backwards and came to rest in the ditch on the north side of the highway. Cecrle said the Suburban rotated 180 degrees and also ended up in the north-side ditch east of the pickup.

There was no road blockage, but Cecrle said officials stopped southbound traffic for a short time to allow emergency vehicles to reach the scene.

"And we didn't want a secondary accident ... because of the number of people and vehicles on the steep downhill slope," he said.

Roads at the time of the crash were icy and snow covered, Cecrle said. The temperature was about 25 degrees, he continued, and visibility was bad due to low clouds.

He said the pickup truck had been traveling at about 45 miles per hour in the outside lane, while the Suburban was going 50-55 mph in the center lane, according to witnesses.

Cecrle believes both children involved in the crash were girls, but he said it was difficult to gather information at the crash site.

"Everything is kind of emotional (at) a traumatic scene like that," he said. "I don't have a lot solidified."

To the best of his knowledge, both children were restrained in car seats, and everyone involved in the crash was wearing a seatbelt.

Cecrle said the Suburban driver is a Lander resident who was born in 1983. The occupants of the pickup truck were born in 1962, 1952 and 1994; two had been in the front seat, with one in the back. Cecrle said they were driving a truck that belonged to their construction company.

Other crashes

Road conditions Tuesday morning caused several one-vehicle rollover accidents along Highway 789, but officials said none of the incidents resulted in serious injuries.

The first was reported at about 7:30 a.m. south of Riverton near Beaver Creek Housing. Witnesses said the wreck involved four students who were on the way to school in Riverton. The driver was Seth Siebersma, 18, and his brother Mitchell Siebersma, 16, also was in the vehicle. Both boys go to Western Heritage Lutheran Academy. The other passengers were two students from St. Margaret Catholic School. Officials said highway traffic was diverted to Rendezvous Road for more than an hour while responders cleared the scene.

Another one-vehicle rollover was reported near milepost 94 on Highway 789 north of Riverton, with a third at milepost 124 west of Shoshoni. All took place before 7:55 a.m., officials said, and the WHP is investigating each incident.

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