Laramie, WY Semi Tractor Trailer And Motor Home Crash, Aug 1979


Laramie, Wyo. (AP) - In what officials call the worst traffic accident in Wyoming history, eight persons died in a head-on collision that left a twisted mass of metal of a semi-trailer rig and a motor home.
Five members of a Lake Stevens, Wash., family, and Everett, Wash., man and two Utah truck drivers were killed Wednesday in the crash on a section of Interstate 80 under construction 30 miles west of Laramie. A 15-year-old girl survived the wreck.
State Highway Patrol Lt. Everette Ayers said the four-lane interstate was reduced to two lanes because of the construction. He said witnesses reported the westbound truck crossed into the eastbound lane, sideswiped an eastbound semi and hit the motor home.
"There weren't very many recognizable parts," he said. "From a back panel you could tell it was a motor home, but that was all."
"We feel the truck that was in the wrong was speeding," said Patrolman Steve Schroeder. "But we don't know why."
Schroeder said there was no apparent reason for the truck, which was empty, to cross the center line.
Albany County Coroner Larry Ayling said HENRY JAMES, JR., 49; his wife, CHARLOTTE, 44; daughter PAULA, 18; and sons ARTHUR, 17, and ROBERT, 12, of Lake Stevens, Wash., and BENJAMIN ROBINSON, 47, of Everett, Wash., were killed in the motor home. JAMES was an assistant manager of the Pioneer First Federal Savings and Loan in Everett.
Ayling identified the dead truck drivers as ROBERT WILKINSON, 44, of American Fork, Utah, and DENNIS LACKBURN, 30, of Orem, Utah.
KAREN JAMES, 15, survived and was listed in stable condition in a Laramie hospital. Schroeder said she was in intensive care and was being watched closely.
The truck drivers were pinned inside the cab but the other victims were thrown as far as 30 feet from the motor home, Schroeder said.

The Times Munster Indiana 1979-08-23