CASPER, Wyo. — A 5-year-old girl who died in a collision with a snowboarder was struck while trying to get her skis back on, authorities said Monday.
Elise Johnson, 5, and the snowboarder, 23-year-old old Craig Shirley, both died of internal injuries in the Christmas Eve collision at Hogadon Ski Area on Casper Mountain, Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobsen said.
The girl's mother, 31-year-old Kelli Johnson, remained hospitalized in stable condition at Wyoming Medical Center.
She and her daughter were stopped about halfway down an advanced run to put the girl's skis on when Shirley collided with them, Sheriff's Lt. Mark Sellers said.
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Sellers and Jacobsen both said Elise Johnson was wearing a helmet at the time. Authorities initially said she didn't have one on because they didn't immediately find a helmet when they responded, Sellers said.
Witnesses have said Shirley was snowboarding at a high speed. Sellers said investigators were talking to witnesses to determine what happened.
Shirley's father, David Shirley, told the Casper Star-Tribune that the black diamond-rated Dreadnaught run was covered in ice.
Funeral services for Shirley are planned Thursday in Casper.