Grand Teton National Park rangers, Wyoming Highway Patrol, and multiple personnel and apparatus from both Teton County and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS responded to a three vehicle collision just inside the park’s south boundary on Tuesday morning, August 14. Although seven occupants were in the three vehicles, only two were transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for treatment. Following the collision on Highway 26/89/191, vehicles backed up for over a mile for 30 minutes or more. Details of the incident are still under investigation.
A Honda Pilot driven by Frederick Kayne, 71, of Marco Island, Florida was northbound when he veered into the southbound lane striking a pop-up camper being pulled by an SUV. The SUV, a Volkswagen Touareg, was driven by Ralph Woodward, 55, of West Jordan, Utah. A second southbound vehicle, a Volkswagen Jetta driven by Brian Woodward, 28, of Murray, Utah, swerved west into the sagebrush attempting to avoid the Honda Pilot that was still crossing the southbound lane. Kayne’s vehicle struck the driver’s side of Woodward’s Jetta once both vehicles were off the road and in the sagebrush.
Teton County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received the first 911 call at 10:35 a.m. and immediately dispatched county resources to the scene. Initially, the collision was believed to be just outside the park boundary, but a park ranger on patrol near the area determined that the incident was actually inside of Grand Teton’s boundary.
Three ambulances, one fire engine, and additional personnel and apparatus responded from Jackson Hole Fire/EMS. Fire/EMS Battalion Chief 1 assumed the role of incident commander once he arrived on scene. Multiple park rangers and a park ambulance also responded. The park ambulance traveled from St. John’s Medical Center where it had just delivered a patient involved in an earlier single vehicle accident north of Moose Junction.
Command was transferred from Jackson Hole Fire/EMS to Grand Teton National Park, and rangers are conducting an investigation into the collision. Wyoming Highway Patrol is assisting park rangers with the investigation by conducting a reconstruction of the scene. Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be a factor in the incident.
The Woodwards were on their way back home to Utah after visiting Grand Teton National Park. Brian Woodward is the son of Ralph Woodward. Kayne is volunteering in Grand Teton this summer, but was not on duty at the time of the collision.
With many distractions (scenery, wildlife and other area attractions), as well as heavy summer traffic, rangers remind motorists to drive defensively and be ready for the unexpected maneuvers performed by drivers sharing the road.