A Jackson native and longtime local rancher died early Friday morning from injuries sustained in a crash Thursday, officials said.
William Saunders, 93, was riding an ATV out of his driveway on River Bend Ranch, just south of the Bondurant Post Office, and failed to yield to a northbound Subaru WRX at around 1:50 p.m., according to Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Klief Guenther. The two collided, after which the Subaru spun into the southbound lane and was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado.
Saunders was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he died just before 6 a.m. Friday.
Born in 1925 on a ranch that is now part of the National Elk Refuge, Saunders graduated from Jackson Hole High School and joined the Marines during World War II, according to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 2015.
He then returned to western Wyoming, where he ran a rodeo and several ranches throughout the region over the years.
Saunders grew up skiing on the Town Hill and helped create the first ski team at Jackson Hole High School by petitioning the school board to add it as a school sport. He and his wife, Martha, also ran a ski shop on the Snow King ball diamond and then in town.
For nearly half a century, since 1972, he lived on and operated the River Bend Ranch with his family.
At the time of the crash, Guenther said, “he was doing what he loved to do, is my understanding. He was going to check on the cows.”
The passenger of the Subaru, Meghan Ceselsky, 29, of Denver, was taken by ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash, according to highway patrol. The Subaru driver, Sean Jordan, 26, of Denver, had no reported injuries. The 50-year-old Chevy driver, John Clover, of Jackson, was taken by private vehicle to St. John’s for injuries.
The crash closed the highway for much of the afternoon Thursday. Guenther said the investigation is ongoing.