Work on Chief Joseph Suspended
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 17, 2018
More details have emerged in the death of a 26-year-old Cody man following an incident involving two haul trucks at a project on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation says Ronald S. Frankenberry was driving a truck for Oftedal Construction on the Chief Joseph highway slide repair project. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Pence says Frankenberry was driving down a haul road on Friday when he apparently collided with another truck that was heading back up the hill.
According to reports, Frankenberry’s truck ran off the road, crashed through some trees and then vaulted off a small cliff about 250 feet before coming to rest upside down in a creek. The Powell Tribune notes that after the call came in around 10 p.m., personnel from West Park Hospital, the Cody Volunteer Fire Department, the sheriff’s office, the highway patrol and Park County Search and Rescue responded to the crash.
Lance Mathess, spokesperson for Search and Rescue, says that members of the high-angle rope team rappelled down the 45-degree face of the gorge to reach the wreckage of the haul truck and worked through the night, finishing up around 5 a.m.
Lieutenant Pence told the Powell Tribune the driver of the other haul truck wasn’t hurt. Park County Coroner Tim Power said no autopsy is being conducted, but blood samples have been submitted for a toxicology report.
Oftedal Construction, which is based in Casper, was awarded the $5.5 million contract in July to stabilize a portion of the Chief Joseph Highway after a side of the road slid away earlier this year, limiting traffic to one lane. Oftedal is working to add 280,000 cubic yards of material at the bottom of the slide to stop the earth from shifting any further. The company will also fix the damaged road, with the work expected to be all wrapped up by the end of June 2019.
The incident is being investigated by the Highway Patrol and Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Work on the project has been suspended until OSHA is finished with the investigation.