Three Wyomingites are dead following a head-on collision in southeast Wyoming's Goshen County, the Wyoming Highway Patrol says.

The crash happened around 3:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, near milepost 112 on U.S. 85, about nine miles north of Lingle.

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According to Trooper Shawncey Day, 84-year-old Beulah resident Nels Smith was behind the wheel of a northbound minivan when he crossed the centerline and collided with an oncoming car being driven by 44-year-old Alicia Rodriguez of Torrington.

Both Smith and Rodriguez and Smith's passenger, 85-year-old Beulah resident Jeanette Smith, died at the scene.

Day wasn't positive what Nels and Jeanette's relationship was.

Driver inattention and diver fatigue/asleep are being investigated as possible contributing factors.

This is the 97th, 98th, and 99th fatality on Wyoming’s highways in 2023, compared to 89 in 2022, 81 in 2021, 86 in 2020, and 109 in 2019 to date.


KGAB Radio was able to get Trooper Day to confirm Nels Smith's date of birth and middle name, Jensen, and can now positively say that Jeanette Smith was his wife.

Nels, a rancher, served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1963 to 1978.

His grandfather, Nels H. Smith, was Wyoming's 18th governor.

2022's Deadliest Wyoming County by Traffic Deaths

While car crashes can occur anywhere, some roads in Wyoming are more dangerous than others.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol data, there were 117 fatal crashes in the Cowboy State in 2022 resulting in 133 deaths.

Of those fatal crashes, the majority (13.68%) occurred in Laramie County -- two in January, one in February, one in March, two in April, one in June, two in July, three in August, two in September, one in November, and one in December.

Sweetwater County saw the second most fatal crashes last year, 12, while Fremont and Lincoln counties each saw 10.

Albany and Park counties each recorded eight, and Campbell, Converse, and Natrona counties each tallied seven.

The deadliest 2022 crash in Laramie County took place on June 17 when two semis collided on Interstate 80 east of Cheyenne and immediately became engulfed in flames killing both drivers and a passenger.

Laramie County also saw two fatal crashes involving motorcyclists, two fatal crashes involving juveniles, and a fatal crash involving a pedestrian last year.

Below is the Wyoming Highway Patrol narrative of every fatal crash that occurred in Laramie County in 2022.

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