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More details emerge in Wadda death; services are Wednesday

Jun 3, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

The Wyoming Highway Patrol is reporting that Edward L. Wadda of Fort Washakie died in a rollover crash on Interstate 25 between Buffalo and Casper when he served to avoid a deer in the roadway on Thursday night.

Wadda, who worked as the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's liaison to Gov. Matt Mead's office, died in the crash at about 8:44 p.m. roughly 16 miles north of Kaycee, the Wyoming Highway Patrol reported Friday afternoon.

He was driving a 2003 white Ford SUV southbound on the interstate between Casper and Buffalo when a deer ran in front of the vehicle, causing him to brake and swerve into the left lane, according to the agency.

The vehicle entered the median, and Wadda overcorrected, causing the Ford to roll two-and-a-half times before coming to rest on its top, the agency reported.

Wadda, 42, died at the scene while unrestrained passengers Diana Soundingsides, 22, and Frank Hogan, 30, both of Fort Washakie and riding in the vehicle's second row of seats, were ejected during the crash, according to authorities.

Medical personnel transported Hogan to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and Soundingsides to a facility in Billings, Mont., for unknown injuries at the time, according to authorities.

Another passenger, Mary Soundingsides, for whom the agency did not list an age and residence, wore a seat belt and suffered minor injuries.

Unofficial accounts reported that a passenger had died Friday, but authorities would not confirm those reports.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Troy McLees said he had not heard whether anyone else had died due to the crash. He reported in an e-mail at about 6 p.m. on Friday that Diana Soundingsides remained in "serious condition."

Funeral services for Wadda are at noon on Wednesday, June 6, at Rocky Mountain Hall at Fort Washakie. Burial will be in the Sacajawea Cemetery at Fort Washakie.

A wake will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at Rocky Mountain Hall. A full obituary will be published at a later date.

Wadda's death carried an emotional impact among family, friends and colleagues who knew the man many called "Eddie."

"It was just a very, very tragic accident, and it was a huge loss for our community," his sister Deanne Large said in a phone interview on Friday morning. "We lost Eddie."

Mead in a statement released Friday afternoon expressed respect for the man who worked as the Eastern Shoshone Tribe's liaison to state government since October 2005.

"Ed was a caring person who always had the best interest of the Eastern Shoshone in his heart. It was a pleasure to work with him to continue to strengthen the relationship between the State of Wyoming and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe.

"It was tragic that Ed's life was cut short. He will be greatly missed," Mead said.

Wadda was returning home to Fort Washakie from Gillette when the crash happened, she said. He had been attending activities with Wyoming Indian High School standout player John Soundingsides for the South Dakota-Wyoming all-star basketball game, she said.

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