Charges have been filed against the driver of a tractor-trailer combination that was involved in a deadly I-80 crash in Laramie County in April 2019.
According to documents released by Laramie County Circuit Court, the suspect in the case is facing charges of Vehicular Homicide and Failure to Maintain a Lane of Travel. Both charges are described in the filings as misdemeanors.
Information filed in the case shows the potential penalty for Vehicular Homicide to be up to one year incarceration, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. The Vehicular Homicide charge alleges that the suspect did “unlawfully operate or drive a motor vehicle in a criminally negligent manner, and his/her conduct is the proximate cause of the death of another person.”
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The Wyoming Highway Patrol says that troopers responded to the scene of the crash on April 22, 2019. The crash involved four commercial vehicles and one passenger vehicle. An occupant of the passenger vehicle had reportedly died at the scene while another occupant was reportedly injured.
According to reports, the suspect was driving a 2013 Freightliner eastbound on I-80 near milepost 368 while two US Government 2006 Freightliners were stopped for mechanical issues on the eastbound emergency lane of the interstate.
WHP investigators believe the suspect 2013 Freightliner drifted across the fog line and into the emergency lane, sideswiping both of the 2006 Freightliners. It is then reported the suspect’s Freightliner crossed both eastbound lanes of travel and entered the median where the trailer overturned.
The suspect Freightliner reportedly continued across the median and entered the westbound lanes of travel. Troopers report the driver of a westbound sedan swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision with the suspect Freightliner and collided with the front of a westbound 2005 Kenworth. Both the sedan and the 2005 Kenworth then impacted the 2013 Freightliner in a broadside manner, with the sedan between the two tractors.
The passenger of the sedan, identified in court papers as 25-year-old Tyson Herrera of Nebraska, reportedly sustained fatal injuries at the scene.
During questioning, the suspect reportedly told troopers that they had seen the two trucks in the emergency lane, and were aware that a passenger vehicle was passing them at the time. The suspect reportedly did not give a reason for allegedly drifting into the emergency lane. The suspect further claimed he was not distracted while driving, but was reportedly using a handsfree headset for a phone call at the time of the crash.
Troopers also indicate that a drug screen conducted on the suspect following the crash showed a positive result for Oxycodone. Investigators report that the suspect was not administered Oxycodone by medical personnel.
The suspect, described as a 38-year-old male California resident, was taken into custody at the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 24, 2021 just before 8:30 a.m. The suspect was listed as being “cooperative” in LCSO jail records.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office.