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Wisconsin man killed in wreck; two others hurt

Jun 13, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Wisconsin man died Wednesday evening at the scene of a two-vehicle accident between Lander and Hudson.

Wyoming Highway Patrol officials said the man was driving southbound on Wyoming Highway 789 with a 17-year-old female passenger, also from Wisconsin, when his red 1998 Ford Contour crossed three lanes of travel for unknown reasons and entered the northbound lane.

The passenger car reportedly side-swiped an oncoming 2009 Ford pickup truck driven by a 43-year-old Lander resident.

"Both vehicles left the road on the east side," WHP Lt. Tom Adams said Thursday. "The passenger car then struck a power pole and ejected both occupants, who were not wearing seatbelts."

The 19-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, and officials said he will be autopsied Friday in Loveland, Colo.

The 17-year-old girl and the Lander woman --who reportedly had been wearing a seatbelt --both were transported to Lander Regional Hospital. Adams said the younger patient was life-flighted to the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper soon afterward. He did not know the condition of either female.

Adams also wasn't sure why the Contour had drifted into the oncoming lane.

"We think we know, but our investigation is not complete yet," Adams said.

He couldn't say why the Wisconsin residents were in Wyoming. Adams doesn't think the teenagers have relatives in the area, and Coroner Ed McAuslan said officials still are working on "that part of the investigation."

At this time, Adams does not suspect that alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, which left the highway's northbound lane closed while officials cleared the scene of debris.

The WHP has altered its policy regarding fatal accidents according to Adams, who said victims' names will not be released until at least 24 hours after a crash. He said the change was made out of respect for family members.

"A mother somewhere else in the state heard about her daughter's fatality on the radio," Adams said. "The father was notified, but the mother never was. So we're waiting 24 hours now whether the next of kin have been notified or not."

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