JACKSON, Wyo. — Alcohol and drugs are being investigated as factors in two separate fatal crashes that occurred near Jackson on New Year’s Day according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP).
The first crash happened in the afternoon of Jan. 1 in the Hoback Canyon (US 191/181) near milepost 153. A Jeep Cherokee was northbound when it entered the southbound lane while a Ford F250 was southbound. The two vehicles collided head-on.
The 39-year-old driver of the Ford F250, Shane Nicholas Deal of Pinedale, succumbed to his injuries while he was being transported to St. John’s via helicopter. Deal was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Jeep Cherokee, Jade Sierra Jewkes, 28, from Thanye, was transported by ambulance to St. John’s where she was later released from the hospital with minor injuries. Jewkes was then arrested for a DUI and taken to jail in Sublette County.
A second crash that occurred on the evening of New Year’s Day happened at the Gros Ventre Roundabout just north of Jackson.
A GMC was northbound on Hwy. 89 at a high rate of speed. The driver, Khlood Salah, 40, from Greenbrae, CA was not maintaining her lane of travel. Upon approach to the roundabout, Salah was straddling the centerline. Her car struck the curbed median before the roundabout circle and became airborne, landing in the median approach where it continued through to the center island of the roundabout. The GMC struck a rock pillar which re-directed it to the west where it came to a stop. Salah, who was not wearing her seatbelt, was ejected during the collision and died on the scene.
Drug and alcohol investigations are still ongoing for each of the incidents.
“We’re investigating those very factors on both crashes,” said WHP Lt. Matthew Brackin.
An alcohol investigation is currently ongoing for the crash in the Hoback Canyon. Meanwhile, authorities are still waiting for toxicology results from the coroner’s office regarding the roundabout crash.
“Make sure you’re drinking responsibly in a manner where you’re not going to put other people in danger,” said Brackin. “The small things that pop up on a highway can be a lot bigger when you’re reaction or perception time is slowed by alcohol and drugs.”
Buckrail offers sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.