An oversized load that brought traffic to a halt in a construction zone on I-90 east of Buffalo Friday morning lead to a three-car crash that claimed the life of a man from Minnesota and injured his passengers.
Another driver was cited for careless driving. The information was released today by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend said 75-year-old Jerome Poland was killed in the crash, dying the same day he was injured at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. Two others in the Chevy Suburban he was driving were treated and released at the nearby hospital in Buffalo, while another remains hospitalized there. All are from Minnesota.
The patrol sergeant said the crash was caused by the driver of a Mercedes SUV. She's been identified as 47-year-old Kristen Eliassen of Gillette. According to the report, she was driving just under 80 miles per hour when she hit Poland's car, which was parked in a construction zone. The impact sent the Chevy Suburban sliding into another parked vehicle, a Lincoln MKZ, driven by 84-year-old Zetha Drew-Estes of Rapid City, S.D. She escaped injury, as did her two passengers, also from Rapid City.
Eliassen told authorities she didn't realize traffic had come to a complete stop and had glanced away momentarily while turning off her cruise control. By that time, according to the report, the 30-minute road closure had turned into nearly an hour and a half wait and construction crews had moved control signs giving drivers less than a mile of visibility to be alerted that traffic had come to a full stop.