News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Teen dies of injuries from wreck near Lander
Jun 25, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
The other Wisconsin teen involved in a fatal accident June 12 near Lander died Monday afternoon in Colorado, according to local officials.
"The Arapaho County Medical Examiner called us this morning," Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan said Tuesday. "They're looking into it."
McAuslan said Andrea Esser, 17, of Sun Prairie, Wis., died of injuries suffered in the June 12 crash. She had been hospitalized since the incident.
Esser was the passenger in the red 1998 Ford Contour that reportedly was southbound on Wyoming Highway 789 three miles east of Lander when it crossed two lanes of travel and collided with an oncoming 2009 Ford F150 pickup truck at about 5:25 p.m. June 12.
Both vehicles reportedly left the roadway to the east. Officials said the Contour struck a power pole and ejected Esser and driver Chase Schweitzer, 19, of Arkdale, Wis., who was pronounced dead at the scene. They were not wearing seatbelts, according to reports.
Esser reportedly was hospitalized at Lander Regional Hospital while the driver of the F150 -- Michelle Caines, 43, of Lander -- was treated and released from LRH. Caines reportedly had been wearing a seatbelt.
Officials said Caines had seen the Contour coming into her lane of travel and had attempted to brake and swerve to avoid a head-on crash. But despite her efforts, the vehicles collided in a "near head-on impact," according to reports.
Officials said both Schweitzer and Esser had the letters "DNR" written on their arms -- an acronym that commonly means "do not resuscitate."
McAuslan said it is too soon to talk about suicide related to the incident. He is waiting for a full autopsy report on Schweitzer and said Arapaho County in Colorado will be responsible for Esser's cause of death.
Last week, Wyoming Highway Patrol officials said they weren't sure why the Wisconsin residents were in Wyoming. It was unknown whether the teens had family in the area. Officials did 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.