A series of crashes caused by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 80 killed five people, including two Arkansas high school students and three recent graduates of the school, and seriously injured others in south-central Wyoming.
The driver has been arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired, according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol statement.
Highway Patrol troopers got word of the Dodge Ram headed east in the westbound lanes minutes before the pickup truck collided with a passenger car and commercial truck near Sinclair on Sunday night. The driver of another commercial truck then swerved onto the median to avoid the wreck, according to the statement Monday.
The second commercial truck crossed the highway and hit an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck head on, engulfing the two trucks in flames.
The second crash killed all five people inside the Ford pickup. Others were taken to hospitals with critical injuries.
The patrol statement did not say how many others were injured or identify anyone involved, including the alleged wrong-way driver.
However, the Pulaski County Special School District identified the crash victims as Sylvan Hills High School seniors Suzy Prime and Ava Grace Luplow, as well as recent graduates Andrea Prime, Salomon Correa and Maggie Franco. The district said counseling would be offered to students and staff.
“Our thoughts are with the families and school community as they grieve the loss of such young lives. You will all be greatly missed,” the school district said.
The five friends were on their way home after spending a week visiting Jackson Hole Bible College in Wyoming, the Kansas City Star reported, citing the Faith Bible Fellowship Church.
The victims ranged in age from 18 to 23, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.
The crash marked the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th fatalities on Wyoming’s roadways in 2023 compared to 1 in 2022, 8 in 2021, and 3 in 2020, the state highway patrol said.
Sinclair is about 140 miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and 300 miles east of Salt Lake City.