Jun 15, 2015

UPDATED: Crash near Wapiti injures trooper, re-routes traffic

A Wyoming State Trooper was injured Monday afternoon after crashing into a truck that turned in front of him just east of Wapiti.

The injuries to Trooper Rodney Miears of Cody, 28, were not life-threatening and he was released from the hospital Monday night, Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Phil Farman said Tuesday.

Miears had been traveling east on U.S. Highway 14-16-20, heading back toward Cody, shortly after 2 p.m.,  Farman said. That's when the westbound commercial truck and its trailer failed to yield and turned into the Yellowstone Valley Inn in front of the approaching trooper, according to a news release from the patrol.

The remains of the trooper's vehicle in front of the Yellowstone Valley Inn. Photo courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol
Miears hit his brakes and swerved to the right to try missing the truck, but the two vehicles still collided. Farman said he did not know what speed the trooper's vehicle had been going.

The patrol vehicle was pushed into the ditch in the crash and Miears was pinned. Motorists stopped to help, but the fire department ultimately had to extricate the trooper from his vehicle, the patrol said.

Miears was taken to West Park Hospital while the driver of the commercial truck, 27-year-old James Friede of Billings, was not injured, the patrol said. Friede, who'd been making a delivery to the inn, was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic while making a left-hand turn, Farman said.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

Miears, who’s been with the patrol for five years, was recovering at home on Tuesday and expected to return to full duty after a few scheduled days off.

After the crash, authorities diverted traffic from the North Fork highway to Stagecoach Trail to bypass the scene of the crash. They were able to reopen the highway at 8 p.m., Farman said.

He said Tuesday that the crash remained under investigation.

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