Just over three days passed in 2016 without a fatality on Wyoming highways.

That changed at about 4 a.m. on Jan. 4, when a 44-year-old Pensacola, Florida man was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-80 about 26 miles west of Laramie near mile post 284.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says the name of the deceased is being withheld until his family can be notified.

The man was traveling in a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 25-year-old Nathan Perkins, who is also from Pensacola.  The Patrol believes that Perkins fell asleep while driving, crossed the median-side roadway rumble strip, and struck a delineator post.

After striking the post, Perkins overcorrected the vehicle and crossed both eastbound lanes of I-80 while sliding.  The Jeep left the highway, tripped, and rolled multiple times.

The passenger was not wearing his seatbelt correctly.  The Patrol says he was sitting on top of the lap belt portion while the shoulder belt portion was placed over his body.  The man was ejected from the Jeep and sustained fatal injuries at the scene.

Perkins, who was wearing his seatbelt, was taken to Ivinson Memorial Hospital.  The Patrol cited Perkins for careless driving.  Driver fatigue is being investigated as the contributing factor in the crash.

The Patrol notes that the investigating troopers “strongly believe this fatality could have been avoided had the passenger been buckled up properly.”

This crash marked the first highway fatality in Wyoming for 2016.  By Jan. 6 last year, Wyoming highways had seen five such fatalities.

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