Semi Truck Driver Dies on Deadman's Curve near Buffalo

Semi-Truck Driver Dies on “Deadman’s Curve” along US Highway 16 in Big Horn Canyon

Written by on August 30, 2022

The aptly named Deadman’s Curve in the Big Horn Canyon near Buffalo claimed another victim, as a semi-truck driver died when he lost control of his rig – and it’s not the first incident this summer.

Last week – August 17 – Javier Cardoso-Reyes, of Katy, Texas, lost control of his semi-track in Mosier Gulch along U.S. Highway 16. Tragically, he could not regain control and was killed when the truck crashed.

Several truck drivers have died on the same stretch of highway due to its steep grade. However, it’s been several years since the last fatality.

Many people see patterns in fatal crashes. The Cowboy State Daily reports many of the fatalities have been out-of-state drivers. While Wyoming drivers are used to managing their trucks on mountain passes, other drivers – particularly from flat areas – have little to no experience on such routes.

The fatal crash isn’t the first accident on that stretch of road this summer. In early July, a semi-truck driver lost control of his vehicle but escaped the truck’s cab before it crashed through the guard rail. Thar driver was also coming down Mosier Gulch.

US 16 truck arrester

Courtesy WYDOT

W.Y.D.O.T. works diligently to enhance the route’s safety and driver awareness of its significant dangers. But there’s only so much the department can do.

In the early 2000s, a CatchNET arrestor was installed on the downhill side of the highway. The CatchNET is an automated system that stops runaway vehicles using a series of strong nets.

A significant number of fatalities have been prevented because of the CatchNET system. However, out-of-state semi-drivers might not be aware of its existence or placement.

Cardoso-Reyes’ crash shows that he drove right by the CatchNET arrestor. Why he drove past the signs and the placement are unknown.

W.Y.D.O.T. intends to upgrade the CatchNET arrestor with new technology. In addition, the department installed an information board to inform drivers about the number of turns and percentage of the grade they can look forward to on the downward side of Highway 16, west of Buffalo.

Nevertheless, Mosier Canyon will never cease to be dangerous – and potentially fatal.

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