Wyoming news briefs for November 10

School officials express concerns after traffic death

CHEYENNE — Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Margaret Crespo announced Tuesday the district is working with law enforcement and city officials to address pedestrian safety concerns after the death of one student and the injury of two others in recent days.

“We are listening, and we are forwarding this information to these entities with the goal of preventing future tragedy,” Crespo said Tuesday in a letter to parents.

The three students were involved in two separate incidents, both of which involved vehicles striking them while they were attempting to cross at crosswalks. The accidents took place just days apart from one another.

Makaili James Evans, 13, was killed Friday morning when he attempted to cross Western Hills Boulevard at the crosswalk near McCormick Junior High, according to a preliminary investigation by the Cheyenne Police Department.

And on Monday morning, another 13-year-old male and a 15-year-old male were both struck while trying to cross Pershing Boulevard at a crosswalk at the intersection with Windmill Road near East High School. The police department reported the victims suffered minor injuries, and were transported to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center out of an abundance of caution.

Local police report that 238 traffic incidents have occurred in the area of East High School this year alone. Of those incidents, 50 occurred at the intersection where the two students were struck and injured.

Crespo said she anticipates the Cheyenne Traffic Safety Committee will conduct a safety audit of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic at each of the schools in the district.


High-speed chase ends with driver death

ROCK SPRINGS — On Nov. 3, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers conducted a traffic stop on a 2021 Chrysler Van at milepost 80 on Interstate 80 near Green River for a traffic infraction. 

A backup trooper in the area arrived to assist with the traffic stop. The driver attempted to jump back into the Chrysler and drive away after conversing with the troopers for a short time.

Troopers tried to stop the driver from leaving but were unsuccessful. Troopers pursued the vehicle as the driver fled east on Interstate 80 towards Rock Springs. 

The pursuit reached speeds over 120 mph. Law enforcement successfully deployed spike strips around milepost 97 on Interstate 80 to deflate the vehicle’s tires.

The driver continued to evade troopers as he fled on Interstate 80. The vehicle collided with the back of a belly dump combination commercial vehicle at a high rate of speed after exiting the interstate at Exit 99. 

The driver of the pursued vehicle was pronounced deceased from injuries sustained in the crash. 

Located inside the vehicle was approximately 83 pounds of suspected marijuana. 

The identification of the deceased driver is being withheld pending next of kin notification. 


Wyoming gas prices fall 2 cents per gallon

CHEYENNE — Wyoming gas prices have fallen 2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.42 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy.com’s daily survey of 494 stations in Wyoming. 

Gas prices in Wyoming are 3.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, but remain $1.29 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $2.85 per gallon Monday, while the most expensive was $3.99, a difference of $1.14 per gallon. 

The national average price of gasoline has risen 1.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.41 per gallon Monday. The national average is up 15.1 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.31 per gallon higher than a year ago.


Afton man killed in wreck

AFTON — A single vehicle accident in the early morning hours of Friday, October 29, has claimed the life of an Afton man.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol reports that the incident occurred at 1:28 a.m. Thomas J. Avila, 37, was traveling south on Highway 89 around milepost 96.5 south of Thayne. 

According to the WHP report, Avila failed to negotiate a curve to the right. His vehicle, a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado, drifted off the left side of the roadway. Avila overcorrected to the right, crossing back over the lanes of the Highway 89 before leaving the right side of the road and overturning.

Avila was not wearing a seatbelt. He was transported to Star Valley Health where he succumbed to his injuries from the crash.

Driver fatigue is being investigates as a potential contributing factor.

This is the 94th fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2021 compared to 114 in 2020, 132 in 2019, and 98 in 2018 to date.