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ATV Crash Kills Wyoming Couple

Park County Sheriff's Office via Facebook
Park County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

A Cody couple in their sixties died Friday after their side-by-side ATV fell off the edge of a trail and landed on its top.

Allen Heald Phillips, 69, and his wife Annette Phillips, 66, were headed up the Morrison Jeep Trail with a group of friends at about 2 p.m. Friday when the crash occurred.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office says nobody saw the crash itself, but investigators have an idea of what happened based on statements from people who were with the couple that afternoon and evidence at the scene.

At this point, the sheriff’s office says it seems the couple tried to negotiate a hairpin turn int he trail and took the switchback too wide. They then tried to back up to get a better angle on the turn, but in doing so, they accidentally backed over the edge of the trail.

The ATV fell four levels of trail before coming to rest on its top in the middle of the trail below.

The Park County 911 Communications Center received a call reporting the crash at 2:47 p.m. Initially, it was said one of the people in the ATV was dead, while the other was critically injured.

A deputy was immediately dispatched along with members of the county’s search and rescue unit, Clark Fire, Clark first responders, an ambulance from Powell Valley HOspital and a helicopter from REACH Air Medical Services.

The Morrison Jeep Trail, also known as Forest Service Road 120, is located in the Clark’s Fork Canyon southwest of Clark, some 4.5 miles from the end of Highway 292. It’s a set of narrow switchbacks that climbs roughly 5,700 feet to the Beartooth Plateau.

It wasn’t until 3:25 p.m. that REACH Air Medical was able to land their helicopter in the canyon, about half a mile from the crash site. Medical personnel hiked up to the scene, where they pronounced both victims dead.

With assistance from Clark Fire, Park County Search and Rescue eventually recovered both bodies. They were brought out of the canyon and turned over to the Park County Coroner’s Office at about 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Morrison Jeep Trail until further notice.

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