Green River Star -

By David Martin

Motorcycle crashes leave 2 dead


David Martin

A crashed motorcycle is pinned beneath a tractor trailer combination Monday on Interstate 80. The motorcycle's rider died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Sweetwater County was the scene for two deadly vehicle crashes during the last week.

According to the Rock Springs Police Department, 44-year-old Stacey McPherson, of Green River, died in a motorcycle crash on Railroad Avenue, near N Street, in Rock Springs early Saturday morning. The department responded to the scene at 3:28. a.m. after receiving calls regarding two people laying in the road. An unidentified man was taken to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County with injuries, while McPherson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash is still under investigation, but the RSPD reports the motorcycle had hit the street curb, causing it to turn onto its side. The motorcycle then slid across the sidewalk until it stopped.

A second deadly motorcycle crash occurred on Interstate 80, on the west side of the tunnels near Green River. According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, a 64-year-old motorcyclist from South Jordan, Utah, died Monday morning in a three-vehicle crash involving a motorcycle and two tractor-trailer combinations. A release from the highway patrol states the motorcyclist, Lynn C. Zingleman, was traveling east in a construction zone crossover at the tunnels when he crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a Freightliner truck, causing Zingleman to get separated from the bike. A second Kenworth truck then hit the motorcycle only. Zingleman was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, however sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.

The crash halted traffic on I-80 for several hours, resulting in vehicles being diverted through Green River and vehicles traveling east on the interstate lining up almost to Exit 99 outside of Rock Springs.

On Friday, a nonfatal and fiery crash on the westbound lane resulted in a semi truck burning to the ground. Occurring early Friday afternoon, a tractor trailer combination owned by Corthell Transportation of Rock Springs crashed near Jamestown after its right, front tire blew and forced the vehicle into a nearby guardrail.

According to both Stephanie Harsha, WYDOT's public involvement specialist and Sherry Corthell of Corthell Transportation, the fuel truck's fuel tanks ruptured and ignited, quickly engulfing both truck and trailer in flames. The trailer disengaged from the vehicle and rolled into a ditch near the intersection of Blue Rim Road and Highway 374. Phillip Wilhelm, the 31-year-old driver of the truck, escaped injury after leaving the truck once it stopped.

Green River Fire Chief Mike Kennedy said 10 firefighters responded to the blaze, which took two hours to extinguish. Kennedy said getting water to the site was initially a problem, with both the Sweetwater County Fire Department and a Bureau of Land Management truck providing water until the city's tanker truck, with 4,000 gallons of water, arrived at the scene.

"Once that got there, we were in pretty good shape," Kennedy said.


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