Dense fog and light slush conditions are being cited as contributing factors in this crash. Initial reports are that two commercial vehicles crashed with each other at approximately 8 a.m. today causing one of the trucks to jackknife in both lanes of I 80 westbound. After the jackknife, the chain reaction of crashes began as multiple westbound vehicles crashed into the jackknifed truck and each other.
59 vehicles have been confirmed to be involved in the crash with the potential of another four to six more. The large fire that ensued from the crash delayed the investigation efforts for an extended period. Wyoming Highway Patrol Crash Team Members and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation are still continuing to work through the crash scene.
An estimated 20 – 25 motorists were transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyoming. 10 were transported to the hospital by ambulance and the remainder were brought in either by school bus or personal transport. Of those who were seen by the hospital, three were admitted to I.M.H. and one was transferred to University Hospital in Denver, Colorado. One confirmed fatality has been reported so far.
The tanker hauling hazardous materials in the crash did catch fire but did not bleve so the hazardous material was not released into the open.
One arrest has been made from the crash at this time. 45 year old Alex Dragaytsev, from Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, has been arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. Mr. Dragaytsev has been transported to the Albany County Detention Center in Laramie.
A digital message sign 19 miles before the crash site had been advising westbound motorists of “Reduced Visibility, Black Ice and Reduce Speed” since 5:57 a.m. that morning.
Interstate 80 remains closed between Laramie and Sinclair (as of 6:40pm Monday night). Westbound traffic from Laramie has been rerouted on US 30 to Walcott Junction. The extensive investigation and cleanup will keep that stretch of I 80 closed for some time. Motorists can check www.wyoroad.info (look for closures and advisories) or call 1-888-WYO-ROAD for updates on the closure.
Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Click photo to enlarge.