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Wyoming News Briefs JULY 17

Two killed in Grand Teton Park accident

Two killed in Grand Teton Park accident

JACKSON (WNE) — Two people were killed and five others are fighting for their lives after a head-on collision Tuesday afternoon in Grand Teton National Park.

Police said Craig Edward Aubuchon, 65, was driving a minivan southbound on Highway 89 Tuesday afternoon when he veered into oncoming traffic.

“For reasons unknown he drifted into the northbound lane and a Nissan Xterra collided with it head-on, center to center,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Matt Brackin said.

Aubuchon, of Town and Country, Missouri, was killed in the crash. His four passengers, two of whom were children, were rushed to St. John’s Medical Center.

One of the adults in the van sustained life-threatening injuries, Brackin said.

The driver of the SUV, Carol Lynn Roemer, was also killed. The Riverton resident was 68 years old. Her passenger sustained life-threatening injuries and is being treated at St. John’s Medical Center.

The wreck happened around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, about half a mile north of the Jackson Hole Airport junction.

Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County sheriff’s deputies directed traffic around the accident via the Antelope Flats and Gros Ventre roads during the four-hour closure.

The National Park Service and Wyoming Highway Patrol are investigating the cause of the accident.

Police don’t believe drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor but autopsies will be done to rule it out, Brackin said.


West Nile virus detected in Laramie

LARAMIE (WNE) — West Nile virus has again been found in a mosquito sample in Laramie, the city announced Tuesday morning.

Despite finding a second positive sample, Laramie stays rated at “Level 1 – Low Risk” based on the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Currently, the risk is categorized as “limited to sporadic activity in local mosquitoes and birds,” according to a city news release.

The first positive sample for WNv was found about a month ago in a trap within city limits.

The adult mosquito trap with the second positive sample was located approximately 6 miles southwest of city limits. The news release said city mosquito technicians so far this year have tested 22 samples of the WNv vector mosquito, Culex tarsalis, with two samples testing positive for the virus.

Low to moderate numbers of vector mosquitoes have been collected at trap locations near the Big Laramie River and other rural locations.

“Residential surveillance sites within city limits report low vector numbers,” the release said. “Overall, nuisance mosquito numbers have been decreasing and vector mosquito numbers have been slowly increasing.”

Tyler Shevling, Mosquito Control crew supervisor, said the city always sees higher nuisance mosquito numbers than vector mosquitoes, which is why they’re measured in two different thresholds on the city’s adult surveillance traps.

“We’ll keep monitoring for both, but I expect the nuisance mosquitoes to continue to go downward,” he told the Laramie Boomerang on Tuesday afternoon. “Our vector mosquitoes, they actually particularly like the hotter, drier days of summer. So, we’ll see an increase in vector mosquitoes, but it won’t be anything like our nuisance mosquitoes.”


Michigan man killed in accident near Gillette

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Michigan man died after a head-on collision on Highway 50 near mile marker 24 at about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Stephen Biddle, 29, was southbound on Highway 50 with a passenger when his car collided with another car heading northbound that also had two passengers. Biddle died at the scene from multiple severe blunt traumatic injuries, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation reported that three other people were injured in the accident but the extent of injuries is unknown.

Biddle was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

The fatality was the 87th on Wyoming roadways so far in 2019, compared to 54 in 2018 to date.


Cheyenne man arrested for attempted murder

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Cheyenne Police Department has arrested Jordon Lucero, 25, of Cheyenne, for attempted murder following a weapons incident Monday.

At 4:40 p.m., officers responded to a report of a shot fired, and found that Lucero had fired a shotgun at another person, striking their vehicle in the process.

No one was injured.

The weapons incident stemmed from a witness observing Lucero and his friend Steven Brown, 52, of Cheyenne entering a vehicle that didn't belong to them in the 1000 block of Bent Avenue. Both Brown and Lucero exited that vehicle and got into a Dodge Durango driven by Brown.

When the witness followed the two in his own vehicle, Lucero shot at the witness, hitting his truck, according to Cheyenne Police. Lucero and Brown were both arrested by CPD officers a short time later at Pershing Boulevard and Snyder Avenue.

According to a booking sheet from the Laramie County jail, Lucero was arrested on one felony count of attempted murder.

The case remains under investigation by the Cheyenne Police Department.


Motorcyclist killed in accident near Riverside

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — A fatal crash occurred Saturday near milepost 120 on Wyoming 230 south of Riverside.

Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched to the motorcycle crash around 1:23 p.m. July 13.

Breckenridge, Colorado, resident Harry E. Gardner was driving a 2004 Harley-Davidson northbound on Wyoming 230. He failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and exited the left side of the roadway before colliding with a fence post, according to a press release.

Investigators said Gardner, 67, was not wearing a helmet and succumbed to his injuries while en route to the hospital. Driver fatigue, inattention, or a possible medical condition are being investigated as possible contributing factors.

This is the 86th fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2019 compared to 54 at this point in 2018, 76 in 2017, and 48 in 2016 to date.


SkyWest proposal for air service receives support

SHERIDAN (WNE) — The Sheridan and Johnson counties Critical Air Service Team supports SkyWest Airlines’ proposal to take over as Sheridan County Airport’s commercial air service provider, CAST President Shawn Parker told Sheridan City Council Monday.

If CAST’s local partners — the city of Sheridan and Sheridan County — back the group’s recommendation, SkyWest would replace Sheridan County Airport’s current commercial air service provider, Key Lime Air — which operates as Denver Air Connection — when its current contract expires in January.

Finalizing an agreement with SkyWest would require the city of Sheridan and Sheridan County to sign memorandums of understanding indicating they will participate in a capacity purchase agreement between the state and the airline, which the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division drafted in an effort to improve commercial air service in four of the state’s critical air service communities — Sheridan, Gillette, Riverton and Rock Springs.

That agreement is contingent upon all four communities agreeing to participate.

The state is shifting resources away from the program that has historically subsidized air service in those communities, and participating in the CPA would ensure the state continues subsidizing local air service.

Parker told council that while CAST is proud of what it’s accomplished with DAC, switching to SkyWest makes more financial sense.

“We had to, as CAST members, pull ourselves out of the emotional side of our agreement with the Denver Air Connection to really look at what was good for the community,” Parker said. “I’ve loved working with the DAC guys for almost five years now…but CAST also understands that the city and the county can’t afford to go on our own.”

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