Authorities investigate fatal Natrona County crash

2012-01-02T23:45:00Z 2012-01-03T00:16:14Z Authorities investigate fatal Natrona County crashBy WILLIAM BROWNING Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
January 02, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — An early morning crash involving a semitrailer and a passenger car on U.S. Highway 20/26 on Monday left one man dead and a stretch of the highway closed for much of the day as authorities cleaned up an oil spill.

The fatal crash occurred between Casper and Glenrock about 6:45 a.m. at mile marker 182.

Natrona County Deputy Coroner Wayne Reynolds on Monday afternoon declined to release the identity of the victim as authorities were still contacting family members.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Josh Hardee said the crash involved a Chrysler passenger car and a semitrailer hauling roughly 260 barrels of crude oil.

The driver of the semi, which was westbound toward Casper at the time of the incident, told investigators that he looked up and saw the eastbound Chrysler traveling in the westbound lane. Both of the vehicles swerved and were involved in what Hardee described as a “glancing head-on” collision.

The driver of the Chrysler was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi suffered head and rib injuries, Hardee said.

The semi tipped over less than 100 feet from the site of the wreck. Hardee estimated that about 90 barrels of oil leaked out of the semi’s tanker, which was punctured in the crash.

Authorities brought in a vacuum truck to help clean up the oil, said Lt. Stew Anderson with the Natrona County Emergency Management Office.

The highway remained closed from approximately the Edness K. Wilkins State Park turnoff to Hat Six Road while the site was cleaned. Most of the oil leaked into a ditch on the south side of the highway.

The roadway was reopened about 5 p.m.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol is investigating.

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