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Brake failure cited in fatal crash on Bighorn mountain pass in August

(Wyoming Highway Patrol)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Highway Patrol says the driver of a commercial vehicle had reported brake problems to his employer before the vehicle rolled and went off a cliff last August.

The crash occurred on a steep mountain pass on Highway 16 shortly before noon on Aug. 17, according to a preliminary Wyoming Highway Patrol report. The Freightliner was heading east on the highway west of Buffalo and passed both a runaway truck catch net system as well as a runaway truck ramp.

Just past milepost 86, the truck was traveling too fast to negotiate a left-hand curve, left the roadway to the right, and began to roll onto its passenger side. The Freightliner struck the guardrail and went over, causing the combination to drop off a very steep cliff, the report said.

The impact separated the cab from the frame and the trailer from the tractor, scattering a load of drill pipe across the bottom of the canyon. The tractor frame also caught fire.

The driver was identified as 47-year-old Texas resident Javier Cardoso Reyes.

There have been 85 deaths on Wyoming roadways this year, compared to 84 to-date in 2021.