The cause of Tuesday’s double fatality crash in Grand Teton National Park has not yet been determined.
Investigators with Wyoming Highway Patrol and Grand Teton National Park are still trying to figure out what caused Craig Edward Aubuchon to cross the centerline of Highway 89 into oncoming traffic.
“I am hoping to be able to speak to the people who were in the vehicle,” Wyoming Highway Patrolman Todd Baxter said.
The wreck killed Aubuchon, 65, of Town and Country, Missouri, and Carol Lynn Roemer, 68, of Riverton, who was driving the SUV that Aubuchon’s rental minivan collided with.
Roemer’s passenger, Dorothy Ashby, and two of Aubuchon’s passengers, Brian and Catherine Aubuchon, are in critical condition at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. At least two of them are in intensive care, Baxter said.
Two children under 2 years old were also in the minivan, Baxter said. One of them sustained a broken leg, but they’re both OK. They were taken by ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where their parents were flown.
Baxter credits the children’s safety to the adults who correctly installed their car seats, which he said were secure and facing backwards when the accident happened.
“They rented a car that they knew was safe, and they rented the best car seats they could get,” Baxter said.
Other Aubuchon relatives were following in a separate car, Baxter said, but they didn’t see the accident.
“They weren’t injured and didn’t see the actual crash,” Baxter said. “They came up upon it.”
The collision happened around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, about a half mile north of Jackson Hole Airport junction.
Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County sheriff’s deputies directed traffic around the accident via the Antelope Flats and Gros Ventre roads during the four-hour closure.
Investigators don’t believe alcohol or drugs were a factor.
“All we know is that he pulled out like he was going to pass somebody, but he never veered back into his lane,” Baxter said.
Baxter said they’re not yet ruling out fatigue or a medical condition as a factor in the crash.
Witnesses are still reeling from seeing the head-on crash. Many drivers exited their cars and ran to the scene to help and even extracted the children and tried to comfort them while first responders rushed there.
Those who saw the accident and friends and family members of the injured are hoping for the best.
“It’s a close-knit family,” a family friend said of the Aubuchons. “They are going through a really unimaginable difficult situation and are trying to stick together through it all.”