Interstate 80 in southeast Wyoming closed again because of another chain-reaction crash

Associated Press

Trucks and cars piled into one another Monday in dense fog on Interstate 80 in southeast Wyoming, resulting in a fiery chain-reaction crash that killed one person, injured 16 and sent up a column of thick black smoke.

The crash in a rural area 18 miles west of Laramie occurred four days after several pileups during a blinding snowstorm closed the busy interstate for two days.

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In both cases, poor visibility was a factor. However, authorities were still investigating and could not say whether the latest wreck involved motorists traveling too fast for the conditions, as occurred in last week's crashes.

Monday's pileup occurred around 8 a.m., when two commercial trucks collided, causing one to jackknife in both westbound lanes, Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener said.

Dozens of other vehicles piled into the crash. Among the vehicles involved was a 22,000-gallon tanker containing a flammable liquid that caught fire and required foam to put it out.

The blaze produced heavy smoke that irritated eyes. It burned for hours, delaying cleanup and investigation of the wreck, Wagener said.

The number of vehicles involved and when the interstate would reopen was unclear hours later, he said.

"It's going to take a lot of time because it's a big mess," Wagener said.

The injured were taken to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. Hospital spokeswoman Kayla Clark said she did not immediately have information on how many of the 16 were admitted and how many were treated and released.

About 50 other people were not hurt and were taken to a local church by the Red Cross, Clark said.

Traffic was being rerouted around the crash on secondary highways, Wagener said.

Last Thursday, several pileups involving nearly 50 vehicles occurred during a snowstorm between Cheyenne and Laramie. There were no fatalities in last week's crashes, but it wasn't until Saturday that all of I-80 was reopened.

Troopers were still investigating, but the primary cause of those wrecks was vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions, Patrol Lt. Tim Romig said Monday.

In neighboring Colorado, two people injured when a tour bus carrying Brooklyn-based performer Twin Shadow crashed into a tractor-trailer Friday on a foggy stretch of Interstate 70 remain in serious condition.

Brooke Black, a publicist for Twin Shadow, the stage name of George Lewis Jr., also said Monday that he was among the 12 people injured in the crash on Friday and will undergo reconstructive hand surgery.

Bus driver John Crawford and drummer Andy Bauer remained hospitalized after the crash.