53-year-old Laureen Emmert from Columbia Falls, Montana died Tuesday in a one vehicle accident on Interstate 90 eight miles south of Sheridan.
A media release issued Thursday by the Wyoming Highway Patrol states that Laureen and her husband Rodney Emmert were traveling from Columbia Falls to Colorado Springs when the accident occurred.
Rodney Emmert advised Troopers that his wife unbuckled her seat belt and was attempting to get something from the front floorboard area of the car and was unable to retrieve it. He then unbuckled his seat belt and bent over to assist looking for the object while his wife steered the vehicle from the passenger seat. He stated that the cruise control was set at 75 mph.
The vehicle then drifted off the left side of the roadway going into the median where it then became airborne striking some trees that were growing in a deep ravine before landing on the other side of the ravine in the cattails of a small creek. The vehicle struck a concrete culvert wall along the creek bed before coming to rest in deep mud near the entrance of the 5 foot tall culvert.
The media release goes on to say that when the Emmert’s failed to arrive at their destination relatives became concerned. One of their adult children was able to make brief cell phone contact with Rodney on the morning of the 20th approximately 9:15 a.m. It was a brief conversation before the cell phone dropped the call during which Laureen was able to say “south of Sheridan, need help, send helicopter”.
Troopers and deputies from the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department began searching the area south of Sheridan along I-90 where the Emmert’s were to have traveled. At around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 21 hours after the crash, a highway construction worker near the area noticed the top of a vehicle in a deep ravine at mile post #33 and found the Emmerts.