Wyoming news briefs for June 8

Posted 6/8/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for June 8


Pilot in fatal crash told controllers he couldn’t return to airport

CHEYENNE — A pilot whose plane crashed into a Cheyenne storage facility on Memorial Day had told air traffic control that he couldn’t make it back to Cheyenne Regional Airport to land, a federal report said. The pilot was killed in the incident, which did not injure anyone on the ground. 

According to a two-page National Transportation Safety Board preliminary accident report released Monday, the pilot had, shortly after takeoff, declared an emergency with the ATC tower personnel. He reported that he had “an engine failure” and was about 4 miles south of the airport, NTSB recounted. 

He later stated that “he would not be able to land at the airport and intended to land in a field. He also stated that he was ‘on fire’ and asked ATC to send fire rescue,” the federal agency wrote. “Video cameras from a local business captured a portion of the accident sequence which showed the airplane descending, near vertical, with a right roll.” 

The Express 2000 RG plane crashed into Cheyenne Storage, 616 Crook Ave. The pilot had intended to fly to Texas, according to federal documents. 

“The initial impact point was a divot in the concrete. The wreckage path continued about 15 ft into a storage locker. A post crash fire ensued which consumed a majority of the airplane,” NTSB recounted. 

The pilot, who federal and local authorities have not identified, was said to have been its sole occupant. 


Man recovers from moose trampling

JACKSON — Ed Opler, 89, was walking his dog on June 1 when a moose came out of “nowhere” and knocked him to the ground.

“He couldn’t see her,” said Opler’s wife, Laura. “She just knocked him right down.”

A bit of pandemonium ensued. His wife, who heard the dog barking, looked out the kitchen window and saw the moose standing there. Then she heard her husband call from the garage. He said he’d been hit.

Laura Opler could see that her husband was bleeding from his hands. When she got closer she could see that his head was covered in blood.

They took Ed Opler on a stretcher to St. John’s Health, where he received a CAT scan. Doctors found a small brain bleed.

Her husband also had a broken scapula. He got staples and stitches and looks pretty beat up, she said. But he was discharged and is now recovering at home.

Moose, like most wildlife, can be defensive when threatened, particularly when people get too close. 

The June 1 encounter came near the end of moose calving season, which kicks off in mid- to late March and runs through late June. Wildlife typically are protective of their young. Moose, in particular, are known for charging when they feel their young are threatened.

“We get a couple reports a year of moose that are tending to be aggressive towards people in defense of their young, and occasionally there’s an injury associated with it,” said Brad Hovinga, Jackson region wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.


Father of fallen Marine McCollum to lead Rock Springs parade

ROCK SPRINGS — Jim McCollum, father of fallen marine Rylee McCollum has been announced as the first grand marshal of Rock Springs’ Liberty Parade. 

The inaugural parade is set for Monday, July 4, 2022. 

Rylee McCollum was one of the 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, in Aug. 2021. 

In a video released on the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, CEO Rick Lee said that the purpose of the parade is to recognize the many heroes in the nation such as members of the military and first responders. 

“So many men and women have sacrificed so much for all of us to enjoy our freedoms and liberty. We would like to recognize them and their families with a respectful celebration,” Lee said. 

“We are humbled to announce that the grand marshal for this year’s Rock Springs Chamber Liberty Parade is Wyoming’s Jim McCollum, Rylee McCollum’s father.”