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April 21, 2015

1 killed in fiery Wyo. highway pile-up

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Trucks and cars piled into one another in dense fog on Interstate 80 in southeast Wyoming, resulting in a fiery chain-reaction crash that killed one person and injured 16 others Monday.

The crash in a rural area 18 miles west of Laramie occurred four days after several pileups during a blinding snowstorm closed the busy interstate for two days.

Monday's pileup occurred around 8 a.m., when two commercial trucks crashed, causing one to jackknife in both westbound lanes, Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener said.

Dozens of other vehicles piled into the crash. Among the vehicles involved was a 22,000-gallon tanker containing a flammable liquid that caught fire and required foam to put it out. The fire produced heavy black smoke that irritated eyes, Wagener said.

The fire burned for hours, delaying cleanup and investigation of the wreck, Wagener said.

The number of vehicles involved and when the interstate would reopen wasn't clear five hours later, he said. "It's going to take a lot of time because it's a big mess," Wagener said.

The injured were taken to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. Hospital spokeswoman Kayla Clark said she did not immediately have information on how many of the 16 were admitted and how many were treated and released.

About 50 other people were not hurt and were taken to a local church by the Red Cross, Clark said.

Traffic was being rerouted around the crash on secondary highways, Wagener said.

Last Thursday, several pileups involving nearly 50 vehicles occurred during a blinding snowstorm between Cheyenne and Laramie. There were no fatalities in last week's crashes, but it wasn't until Saturday when all of I-80 was reopened.

Troopers were still investigating last week's wrecks, Patrol Lt. Tim Romig said Monday. "It could take several weeks for us to get to where we're almost done with the investigation," Romig said.

But he said the primary cause was vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions.

In neighboring Colorado, two people injured when a tour bus carrying Brooklyn-based performer Twin Shadow crashed into a tractor-trailer last Friday on a foggy stretch of Interstate 70 remain in serious condition.

Brooke Black, a publicist for Twin Shadow, the stage name of George Lewis Jr., also said Monday that he was among the 12 people injured in the crash on Friday and will undergo reconstructive hand surgery.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Bus driver John Crawford and drummer Andy Bauer remained hospitalized after the crash.


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