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Six fatal crashes so far in Campbell County this year

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Via the Wyoming News Exchange

GILLETTE (WNE) --- So far in 2024, 21 people have died in 18 fatal crashes in Wyoming. A third of those crashes, which resulted in six deaths, happened in Campbell County.

In 2023, there were 11 fatal crashes in Campbell County. In 2022, there were seven. 2021 had four fatal crashes, and 2020 had eight.

Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny said when it comes to these crashes, “it randomly spikes and sometimes it doesn’t.”

The first crash wasn’t until Jan. 30, then there was another one about two weeks later.

Of the five crashes, one was on Highway 50, one was on Interstate 90 and one was on Highway 51. Another was on Echeta Road, and a fifth was on Country Club Road. The most recent one, on Saturday, was on North Highway 59.

The winter has been pretty mild this year, and weather conditions were listed as a contributing factor in only one of the six crashes. Matheny said the nice weather means that “more people are out and about on the highway.” And the more drivers there are, the greater the risk for accidents.

Since 2020, there have been 36 fatal crashes in Campbell County. Fourteen of those had speed listed as a contributing factor, while driver inattention was an element in nine of the crashes.

Jason Roascio, public information officer for Wyoming Highway Patrol District 4, said many drivers have gotten comfortable with driving distracted.

“They’re taking their attention away from what’s already a very dangerous task,” he said. “We take it for granted, our speed limits in Wyoming are 80 mph. That speed is serious, and it can be done safely as long as you are paying attention to driving.”

“How do we make them more attentive?” Matheny asked. “I don’t know what to do.”

While an increased law enforcement presence may help drivers slow down on the highways, Matheny said speed traps “don’t do anything with distractedness.”

The numbers are concerning, he added, and “honestly, all law enforcement should be diligent in making sure people are paying attention.”

“Maybe it’s time for the police department, highway patrol and the sheriff’s office to do more,” he said.

This story was published on April 23, 2024. 

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