Dec 22, 2015

Cody woman uninjured after sideswiping backhoe and losing tire

A few inches farther to the left, and the story of a crash on Wyo. Highway 295 north of Powell on Friday could have ended very differently.

Thanks to those few inches, driver Heather Gambill, 28, of Cody, was uninjured in the 7 a.m. crash between the pickup she was driving and a parked backhoe.

Trooper Blain Mollett photographs damage to a WYDOT backhoe after a Friday morning crash along Wyo. Highway 295. Cody News Co. photo by Ilene Olson

Trooper Blain Mollett of the Wyoming Highway Patrol said Gambill fell asleep while driving a white 2008 Nissan Titan north on Wyo. Highway 295 at milepost 18, located near the intersection with Park County Lane 3 and just south of Polecat Bench and the Powell Municipal Airport.

The pickup drifted off the road to the left, crossing the southbound lane, then veered onto the left shoulder, where it sideswiped a New Holland backhoe owned by the Wyoming Department of Transportation that was parked near the right-of-way fence, Mollett said.

The left side of the pickup scraped along the side of the large rear tire of the backhoe, flattening the tire. The pickup continued forward along the right side of the backhoe, shattering a plastic fender on the backhoe. Then the pickup’s front driver’s-side wheel jammed into a small space between the backhoe’s front tire and bucket, where it stuck fast — while the pickup’s tire separated from the rim and flew off to the left of the backhoe.

The truck traveled forward more than 100 feet farther, where the wheel-less left-front end came to rest on a small, hard-packed snowbank, with the left side of the vehicle resting against the right-of-way fence.

Gambill was cited for failure to maintain a single lane of travel, Mollett said. The trooper said Gambill was wearing her seatbelt, and the pickup’s driver-side airbag deployed.

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