CASPER, Wyo. — A Colorado Springs, Colo., man involved in a single-vehicle rollover on Interstate 25 north of Casper died Monday after assuring a passer-by that he was OK.
Jesse G. Ricks, 29, was driving northbound about 40 miles north of Casper when he lost control of his Nissan Maxima shortly before noon, according to a report from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
The roadway was “slushy and wet,” the report stated, and the car went off the right side of the roadway before rolling over twice down a steep embankment.
A witness to the crash told the patrol that Ricks got out of the car and said he was “OK." The witness continued up the interstate about 300 yards, where he spotted a trooper and directed him to the accident.
The trooper arrived "just moments later," according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend.
But at some point between the witness leaving and the trooper’s arrival on the scene, Ricks collapsed and stopped breathing.
The trooper administered CPR for about an hour before paramedics arrived, Townsend said, but his efforts proved futile. Ricks was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:45 p.m. by paramedics.
Officials say Ricks was wearing his seat belt but may have been driving too fast for the weather conditions.
An autopsy was performed on Ricks on Tuesday afternoon. Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said the cause of death would not be announced for another few weeks, but said no trauma was noted to the outside of the body.
Jacobson said the circumstances surrounding Ricks' death — emerging seemingly fine just moments before he collapsed — were uncommon but not unheard of.
"I've seen it before, after someone's had a traumatic injury," she said. Two likely causes would be a severed spinal cord or a dissected major vessel, she said.
"But again," she stressed, "that's just speculation."