There is an ongoing investigation into the cause of a fatal accident between a bus and several vehicles in the state of Wyoming. The accident took place earlier this week on Highway 59, just outside of the town of Gilette. Three people were killed in the accident.
According to Lt. Will Zilka of the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the highway was under construction on Wednesday morning when the incident occurred. The time was approximately 7:30 and only one lane of the road was available to traffic. Safety personnel had traffic stopped on both sides as a pilot car led lines of cars northbound and southbound. “The northbound traffic was waiting for their turn when the bus came on them and collided with them.” Major Perry Jones indicated that the bus was moving extremely fast.
The Powder River Transportation bus was carrying approximately two-dozen employees of local Powder River Basin coalmines. None of the passengers on the bus were injured, but when the bus ran up on the waiting vehicles, chaos followed. The crash involved eight vehicles in total and ended with two large pick up trucks piled on top of each other, the bus on top of one of them and three people in those cars dead. Three others were taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital, though their conditions were not released.
Highway 59 serves as the main route between the town of Douglas and the Wyoming border with Montana. There are several coalmines in the vicinity, and the mines hire buses to carry workers to and from their work. The bus that caused the accident was taking workers back following the 7 a.m. shift change. The coalmines work around the clock, so buses are constantly traversing the roadway.
Though the accident investigation is ongoing, the Wyoming Highway Patrol has indicated that the bus driver may have been operating the bus with the cruise control function on. There is no indication yet as to why the driver did not stop for the well-marked construction zone.
The three men killed in the crash were identified as 37-year old Colin Schultz, 40-year old Christopher Joubert and 55-year old Charles Errington. The associate director of corporate affairs for Powder River Transportation, Sean Hughes, released a statement indicating that the company’s number one priority is safety. “Powder River Transportation is cooperating fully with local officials. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are involved.”