The Saratoga Sun -

Fatalities sadly start season

26-year-old dies in floating incident, 13-year-old killed in ATV crash

 


A pair of fatal incidents over the weekend marred the beginning of the summer recreation season for the Platte River Valley.

Friday evening, a 26-year-old man drowned in the Encampment River after being ejected from a raft that was floating the river. The next day, a 13-year-old boy died near Ryan Park after the ATV he was operating struck a tree. Both incidents are under investigation by authorities.

Lane Swedlund, 26, of Laramie, was identified as the drowning victim in a news release from the Carbon County Sheriff’s office.

According to the sheriff, Swedlund was in the raft and was ejected around 7 p.m. Two sheriff’s deputies responded to the call, as did search and rescue team members from Saratoga and Encampment.

Swedlund was recovered from the river about a quarter mile past the Riverside boat launch in an area referred to as the Smelter. Swedlund was transported to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County where he was declared dead.

According to the Sheriff’s office, Swedlund and the other two people in the raft were not wearing their life jackets at the time of the accident.

The Carbon County Coroner’s office will be conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death, according to the release.

The second fatal incident of the weekend occurred near Ryan Park Saturday. A 13-year-old boy who was a resident of West Jordan, Utah, was killed after the ATV he was on collided with a tree in the Medicine Bow National Forest.

According to a release by the Sheriff’s office, the boy and his cousin were riding ATVs on Forest Road 210 around noon when the crash occurred.

A sheriff’s deputy and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer responded to the scene and discovered the boy dead on scene.

The boy was wearing a helmet, according to the Sheriff’s office.

Because it was a fatal crash that occurred on a public road, the incident is being investigated by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

According to Sergeant Kyle McKay, Public Information Officer for the Wyoming Highway Patrol, it is believed the 13-year-old victim was the operator of the ATV. McKay also said investigators were looking at excessive speed as a contributing factor in the crash.

Under Wyoming regulations, a person must have a driver’s license and carry proof of liability insurance to operate an ATV on a public road.

Aaron Voos, a representative for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) said the USFS defers to state regulations when it comes to the use of ATVs in the forest. Generally, he said, ATV operators must have a license to operate an ATV in the national forest. However, it can be permissible for someone under the age of 16 to operate an ATV on a designated off-highway-vehicle (OHV) trail.

The road where the crash occurred was not a designated OHV trail.

“It is an unfortunate experience for everyone,” McKay said. “Whether on a road or not, people need to make sure they are being as safe as possible.”

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