• January 31, 2023

Turnier Piterson Killed, Injuries Reported in 44-Vehicle Pileup on I-80 in Carbon County, WY

UPDATE (March 3, 2023): Recent details given by State Highway Patrol officials identified the man killed in the crash as Turnier Piterson. No further information can be confirmed.

Carbon County, WY — January 28, 2023, one person died and injuries were reported in a 44-vehicle pileup along Interstate 80 near Elk Mountain in Carbon County.

Authorities say the incident happened Saturday along I-80 near mile marker 266. Preliminary investigation suggests only that numerous vehicles, among them several commercial trucks, collided in the roadway during severe weather conditions. Images of the scene show heavy snowfall covering the vehicles and the roadway.

Officials confirmed one fatality in the crash, and an unknown number of other people were injured.

The accident remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.

It's not clear exactly what went wrong here, though Wyoming authorities were pretty clear that adverse weather is believed to be a major factor. Their warning about staying indoors if possible and taking every precaution if not makes sense, as proper care is urgently needed in those conditions. In fact, I think that has more to do with these wrecks than the actual snow itself.

I'm not saying the heavy snowfall wasn't a big factor in what happened. My point is more that weather alone doesn't cause wrecks like this—what people do (or fail to do) in it is the real issue. That can be a point of special concern when these wrecks involve commercial trucks, whose drivers are required by federal law to slow down or stop if they can't safely traverse road conditions. When someone in a 40-ton big rig decides the best way to deal with a winter storm is speed through to the other side of it instead of pulling over or at least slowing to crawl, a pileup wreck can rapidly go from bad to worse.

Turnier Piterson Killed, Injuries Reported in Pileup on I-80 in Carbon County, WY

I'm not pointing fingers here;. I just mean that when 44 vehicles crash on a major freeway it's fair to want to know exactly how that was triggered and whether it could or should have been avoided. Taking steps to learn the whole story is always best, but that may not happen if authorities just rubber-stamp "snow" on their reports and move on. Someone died and others were hurt, and it's only right that they and their loved ones get the whole story. Who'll make sure that happens?

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