Yellowstone coyote that bit skier did not have rabies and other news from around the state

Man in fatal crash identified as Casper resident

GILLETTE (WNE) — The man who was killed on icy roads Friday morning was 46-year-old Peter P. Godwin of Casper.

He died instantly after his 2017 Dodge Ram pickup collided with a semi-trailer Friday morning, Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem said Monday.

The man was driving southbound by Cosner Road south of Wright about 9 a.m. when he lost control on the ice and drifted into the northbound lane in front of a northbound 2018 Kenworth commercial truck.

The driver of the Rev Energy semi-truck was 33-year-old Zach Manning of Gillette, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. The semi attempted to brake, but could not stop in time and T-boned the pickup.

The pickup immediately caught fire and slid down an embankment, Wyoming Highway Patrol Tooper Eli Ellis said.

Manning, who was wearing his seat belt, was taken to Campbell County Memorial Hospital for injuries he received in the crash. Godwin, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene of his injuries.

A Nigeria native, Godwin had a Casper address but worked in Gillette.

An autopsy will be completed some time this week, Wallem said.

The accident caused Highway 59 to shut down for several hours Friday.

Godwin's death is the fourth fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2020 compared to 14 in 2019, six in 2018, and six in 2017 to date.


Yellowstone coyote that bit skier did not have rabies

CODY (WNE) — The National Park Service announced the coyote which bit a Colorado woman who was cross-country skiing in Yellowstone National Park in late January has tested negative for rabies.

The 43-year-old woman was treated for puncture wounds and lacerations to her head and arm near Canyon Village.

There was concern the animal could have infected the skier with rabies. Yellowstone staff subsequently killed the coyote.

Wildlife biologist Doug Smith said they suspected the coyote was starving due to having porcupine quills in its lower jaw and inside its mouth.


Federal subsidy for Cody air service to continue

POWELL (WNE) — The federal government will continue to subsidize fall, winter and spring flights between the Cody and Denver airports, agreeing to pay United Airlines $841,000 to fly the route twice a day from October through May. 

The Jan. 29 decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation effectively guarantees that Yellowstone Regional Airport (YRA) will continue to have year-round commercial service in the coming years. 

Airlines are happy to fly to Cody in the summer months, when tourists drive up passenger numbers, offering service to Denver, Salt Lake and occasionally Chicago. However, they’ve generally been unwilling to fly to YRA without government help between October and May, when traffic sinks. To keep the service going, the Department of Transportation has been subsidizing those eight months of flights through its Essential Air Service program.

United has been receiving subsidies through the program since 2018 — to the tune of $850,000 a year — to provide service between Cody and Denver. However, the current contract ends March 1, which required the DOT to seek proposals for a new deal, which will run through May 31, 2022. 

United estimated that it will cost nearly $5.67 million to fly to and from Cody from October to May, with the twice a day flights yielding less than $4.83 million in revenue. The airline requested an $841,000 annual subsidy to cover the shortfall, which breaks down to $882 per flight and $23.54 per passenger; the Essential Air Service program allows subsidies of up to $1,000 per passenger. 


Former Guernsey police chief returns to position

GUERNSEY (WNE) — Guernsey Town Council members on Jan. 21 selected former Police Chief Dwight McGuire to reassume the role. It will be his second stint in the post. 

McGuire takes over the job as Guernsey’s top cop after Terri VanDam resigned on Jan. 15, stating in a letter that she was forced from the position by the town’s mayor and council. 

According to his Facebook profile, McGuire has served as a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper and in the U.S. Army as a convoy commander at the rank of staff sergeant. McGuire studied criminal justice at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.