Wyoming marked its first highway fatality on Jan. 2nd after a man was killed in the emergency lane of Interstate 25 near Wheatland.
According to a Wyoming Highway Patrol report, John Steele of Lacey Washington was investigating noise from the engine of his 2004 Toyota Corolla in the emergency shoulder of northbound I-25 on Wednesday morning. The report states that Steele was the registered owner of the Toyota but was riding in the passenger seat prior to the accident.
A farm tractor hauling hay then collided with the stopped vehicle in the emergency lane while Steele was in front of the vehicle. The tractor stopped and partially blocked northbound lanes.
According to the report, “the driver of the farm tractor backed up to clear the interstate and collided with the passenger of the Toyota.”
Steele died at the scene. The driver and other passengers in the Toyota were restrained and not injured. The driver of the farm tractor, an unidentified Wheatland resident, was also uninjured.
According to the report, “criminal charges are to be determined depending on the outcome of the investigation.”
This is the first fatality on Wyoming’s highways in 2019, according to the WHP.