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Truck driver killed in mountain accident

BUFFALO (WNE) — For the second time in two months, a semitrailer lost control on the way down the mountain on U.S. Highway 16 West and plunged into Mosier Gulch. This time, the driver was killed.

Javier Cardoso-Reyes, of Katy, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene after his truck rolled over the guardrail along a stretch of road commonly known as Deadman's Curve. The truck skidded down the embankment and stopped near Clear Creek, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Erik Jorgensen.

The trailer separated from the cab on the way down, and the engine compartment broke away from the cab, catching fire and igniting a small blaze near the wreck. Authorities put it out soon after.

Witnesses reported that Cardoso-Reyes, hauling a load of oilfield drill pipes, was

having difficulty braking as he traveled down the mountain, reaching speeds of over 50 miles per hour and taking up the entire highway, Jorgensen said.

Cardoso-Reyes bypassed the catch net, which is a series of cables designed to stop runaway trucks. Jorgensen did not know why.

At the beginning of July, another semitrailer driver failed to negotiate the same stretch of road and crashed. He bailed out seconds before the truck careened into Mosier Gulch, suffering only minor injuries.

Highway 16 had seen no fatalities this year until August, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation's crash reports.

Jorgensen said Highway 16 is particularly steep, and many drivers are unfamiliar with what's required to safely navigate it. He recommended that drivers — especially truck drivers — stop at the brake check, let their brakes cool and use low gear as they begin descending the mountain.

This story was published on August 25, 2022.

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