Teens hurt in car wreck after chase

Nov 30, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Two teenage boys were injured in a vehicle collision Saturday evening, reportedly after eluding law enforcement in Dubois.

Fremont County Sheriff's deputies said they located the juveniles, ages 15 and 17, at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday on private property in the 600 block of North Horse Creek Road. The boys were reportedly sitting in a white 1992 Dodge Dakota, with the 17-year-old in the driver's seat and the 15-year-old in the passenger's seat.

"(The deputies) could tell they were up there, and they knew there wasn't supposed to be anybody up there," Sheriff's Capt. Ryan Lee said Tuesday. "So they went to investigate that, but as soon as they started driving onto the property the vehicle took off."

He said one deputy attempted to stop the Dakota, but the 17-year-old did not pull over. Instead, the boys reportedly headed south on Horse Creek Road and "picked up some speed."

At that point, Lee said, the deputy in pursuit turned off his lights and siren and terminated the chase.

"He decided the possibility of injury to the occupants of the vehicle or the citizens of the community was too great a risk," Lee said. "The deputy was able to tell he was dealing with a juvenile, and he wasn't going to push the matter."

The deputy lost sight of the vehicle eventually, but as he drove into town he saw the Dakota, which reportedly had collided with a sign in front of Welty's General Store, 113 W. Ramshorn St.

"It appeared the vehicle had failed to stop at Horse Creek Road and (U.S.) Highway 26 and ran straight through the intersection colliding with a pole," Lee said.

Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper Dave Hockett said the Dakota was traveling at 64 mph in a 20 mph as it approached the intersection with the highway. When the vehicle drew nearer to the intersection's stop sign, Hockett said the 17-year-old applied the brakes, sending the car into a skid.

"They skidded 134 feet, jumped the sidewalk and hit the pole in front of Welty's," Hockett said. "It's a huge, steel pole that holds the Welty's General Store sign. ... It was still standing, but it crumpled the pole and pushed it into the wall."

The Lander ambulance service responded to the scene, and law enforcement officials assisted with the care of both patients along with emergency medical personnel and county firefighters. The juveniles were transported to local hospitals to be treated for broken bones and some internal injuries according to Hockett, who said the boys had been released as of Tuesday morning.

The WHP is investigating the collision, which destroyed the Dodge Dakota.

Hockett said drugs and alcohol are being considered as potential factors in the crash. Lee said the sheriff's office will look into the events leading up to the accident, and charges could be pending for both boys involved.

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