LARAMIE — A single vehicle rollover crash west of Laramie, Wyoming on January 4th has resulted in a 44-year-old Pensacola, Florida man’s death. The crash occurred near milepost 284 on Interstate 80 eastbound at 4:00 a.m. approximately 26 miles west of Laramie.
The Florida resident was a passenger in a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was driven by 25-year-old Nathan Perkins, also from Pensacola.
It is believed that Perkins fell asleep while driving and crossed over the median side roadway rumble strips and struck a delineator post. After the Jeep struck the delineator post, Perkins overcorrected the vehicle to the right, crossed both eastbound lanes of I-80 and left the interstate to the south while sliding. After leaving the highway to the south, the Jeep tripped and rolled multiple times.
The 44 year old passenger was incorrectly wearing his seat belt by sitting on top of the lap belt portion of the seatbelt with the shoulder belt portion placed over his body. The passenger was ejected during the crash and sustained fatal injuries on scene. Perkins was wearing his seat belt and was transported by ground ambulance to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie where he was hospitalized.
Driver fatigue is being investigated as the contributing factor in this crash. Perkins has been cited for careless driving. This fatal crash marked the first highway fatality in Wyoming for 2016. There were five fatalities as of Jan. 6th last year.
Authorities are continuing to locate next of kin for the 44 year old passenger. The man’s name is not being released until that notification has been made.
Investigating Troopers strongly believe this fatality could have been avoided had the passenger been buckled up properly by utilizing the lap belt portion of the seatbelt and not just the shoulder belt placed over his body.
This first highway fatality of 2016 reminds us that single vehicle rollover crashes with unrestrained occupants continue to be one of the deadliest combinations in Wyoming. The Wyoming Highway Patrol urges everyone to buckle up every time to arrive alive in 2016.