Two killed in I-80 crash near Evanston

Vehicles sit wrecked on the side of Interstate 80 on Sunday afternoon after a pickup failed to stop for other vehicles that were stopped due to an accident minutes before. Two succumbed to their injuries from the incident. (COURTESY PHOTO/Uinta County Fire and Ambulance)

A man and boy are dead after another man drove his pickup into vehicles that were stopped for a previous accident on Interstate 80 near Evanston on Sunday, July 18, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. The fatal crash occurred around milepost 1 on Interstate 80, just west of Evanston. At 2 p.m., Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were notified of the collision.

A 2002 Toyota RAV-4 and 2013 Ford F-150 were stopped in traffic due to an earlier crash blocking the roadway. The driver of a 2018 GMC Sierra failed to see the stopped traffic and collided with the Toyota, causing the Toyota to hit the back of the Ford.    

The driver of the GMC has been identified as 29-year-old Greeley, Colorado, resident Braylin Wertenberger. Wertenberger was not wearing his seatbelt and was transported to the Evanston Regional Hospital for injuries sustained in the crash.

The passenger in the GMC has been identified as 42-year-old Brighton, Colorado, resident Mollie Wright. Wright was not wearing her seatbelt and was transported by helicopter to the University of Utah for injuries sustained in the crash.      

The driver of the Toyota has been identified as 71-year-old Wolf Point, Montana, resident William J. Baker. Baker was wearing a seatbelt and transported by helicopter to the University of Utah, where he later succumbed to his injuries sustained in the crash.

The juvenile passenger in the vehicle has been identified as Wolf Point, Montana, resident Scobey J. Baker. He was wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to injuries at the scene of the crash. The remaining passenger in the vehicle has been identified as 19-year-old Wolf Point, Montana, resident Kade Baker. He was transported to Evanston Regional Hospital for injuries sustained in the crash. 

The driver of the Ford has been identified as 36-year-old Bluffdale, Utah, resident Rosario Ortiz Garcia. Ortiz Garcia was wearing a seatbelt and not injured in the crash. The passengers in the Ford have been identified as 46-year-old West Valley, Utah, resident Maria Lopez, and one juvenile passenger. They were both restrained correctly, and Lopez was transported to Evanston Regional Hospital for injuries sustained in the crash. 

Driver inattention and speed on the part of Wertenberger are being investigated as potential contributing factors.

These are the 53rd and 54th fatalities on Wyoming’s roadways in 2021, compared to 59 in 2020, 92 in 2019, and 56 in 2018 to date.   

Prior to the fatal crash, Evanston first responders responded to an accident on I-80 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on eastbound I-80. Between the two incidents, four ambulances responded, and the Evanston Fire Department extricated three occupants involved in the first crash. A total of five patients were transported to hospitals from the two incidents, with injuries ranging from serious to critical, according to a post on the Uinta County Fire and Ambulance Facebook page.

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