Tanker truck, car collide on foggy Highway 97

Emergency vehicles work at the site of a serious two-vehicle collision on a foggy Nebraska Highway 97 about 1 1/2 miles north of the Lincoln-McPherson county line. A southbound tanker truck, visible in the background, was involved along with a four-door sedan, according to law enforcement scanner traffic.

Updated: 

Three people were killed in two separate traffic collisions in western Nebraska Monday morning, one of which took place in extremely foggy conditions northwest of North Platte.

Fog was also a factor in the second crash, on Interstate 80 near Big Springs.

Traffic on Nebraska Highway 97 was blocked after a two-vehicle wreck about 9:45 a.m. about 1½ miles north of the Lincoln-McPherson county line.

Authorities said Sheila Viter, 37, of Tryon died after her northbound 2004 Acura crossed the center line and collided with an empty southbound fuel tanker truck.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, McPherson County Sheriff Thomas Burch said in a press release. Next of kin had not been fully notified as of late Monday afternoon, added Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas.

The truck driver, a 40-year-old Tryon man, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released, authorities said.

Nebraska Department of Transportation workers directed oncoming traffic through the scene of the collision on a northeasterly bend in Nebraska 97.

The tanker truck was pointed southbound, but its cab was turned east onto the northbound side of the road. Debris could be seen on the roadway, but the Acura was not clearly visible in the fog.

The McPherson County wreck followed another in which two people died just east of the Interstate 80/76 junction west of the Big Springs interchange.

Thomas said an eastbound Ford F450 SUV with four people inside crossed the median into I-80’s westbound lanes, colliding with a semitrailer truck about 7:25 a.m.

Two of the SUV’s three passengers, Enrique Torres Villegas, 33, and Kurt Allan Jording, 55, both of Scottsbluff, were pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin have been notified, Thomas said.

The SUV’s driver and another passenger were taken to Sedgwick County Health Center in Julesburg, Colorado, he said. The driver of the semi was not injured.

The I-80/76 interchange, about three miles east of the Colorado-Nebraska corner, is being reconfigured for the first time since its 1969 opening. Construction on the $50 million project started last fall.

Thomas said the collision took place at about I-80 milepost 103, near where eastbound I-80 traffic merges with vehicles from I-76 in the interchange’s original design.

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Original story: 

Traffic on a very foggy Nebraska Highway 97 was blocked Monday morning as first responders worked a serious two-vehicle wreck about 1 1/2 miles north of the Lincoln-McPherson county line.

A tanker truck and a four-door sedan were involved in the collision about 10 a.m., according to law enforcement scanner traffic.

A 50-year-old woman was injured and unconscious at the scene, according to the scanner calls. It wasn’t clear whether anyone else was hurt.

Two ambulances, one from North Platte and the other from McPherson County Rescue, left the scene southbound as a Telegraph reporter drove north. The McPherson County ambulance had flashing lights and sirens.

Nebraska Department of Transportation workers directed oncoming traffic through the scene of the collision on a northeasterly bend in Nebraska 97.

The tanker truck was pointed southbound, but its cab was turned east onto the northbound side of the road. Debris could be seen on the roadway, but the sedan was not clearly visible in the fog.

A Nebraska State Patrol trooper’s vehicle was driving quickly northward at a high rate of speed as the reporter returned southbound to North Platte.

Stay tuned to nptelegraph.com for further details.

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