I-80 accident kills 3

A crumpled minivan sits along Interstate 80 just outside Evanston Wednesday night. According to law enforcement, the driver lost control on the icy interstate and rear-ended a semi and then was struck from behind by another semi. The collision claimed the lives of three of the seven minivan occupants. (COURTESY PHOTO/Uinta County Law Enforcement Services)

First responders issue pleas to slow down, buckle up

EVANSTON — A serious accident just outside Evanston claimed the lives of three people late on the night of Wednesday, March 6. The accident occurred on Interstate 80 eastbound at mile marker 15, where a minivan with seven occupants apparently went out of control and collided with the rear of a semi-trailer and was subsequently struck from behind by a second semi. 

Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Dave Homer said the accident occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. and the interstate was closed for at least five hours to clear the scene. Homer said the three fatalities were all occupants of the minivan, which was carrying five children. There were no injuries to either of the semi drivers. 

Homer said the cause of the accident is still under investigation, but winter weather is believed to be a contributing factor. Uinta County Sheriff Doug Matthews said the roads that night were extremely slick. 

None of the occupants of the minivan were properly restrained. 

Matthews shared his appreciation of the emergency crews who responded to the accident. “I was out there last night, and I commend all the first responders for the way they can handle such a horrific scene.”

Homer, too, said he wanted to commend the Evanston Fire and EMS departments. Both men also acknowledged the emergency room staff at Evanston Regional Hospital. 

Homer said he could not provide information on the condition of the other four occupants of the minivan. No names have been released, but Homer said the family is from out of state. According to the WHP website, there had been 22 fatalities on Wyoming roads already in 2019 prior to this accident. At the same point last year there had been 12 fatalities, with 10 in 2017 and 9 in 2016. 

Homer said he wants to remind people to please wear their seatbelts and make sure children are properly restrained in car seats.

“Please slow down on icy roads,” he said. 

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