Grand Teton National Park Car Accident Results in One Death

by Amy Myers
Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Grand Teton National Park confirmed that one person has died as a result of the vehicular accident on Highway 89. At around 11 a.m. yesterday, the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call regarding an accident involving an SUV and a semi-truck. Soon after, park rangers arrived to assess the scene and found the two vehicles near Teton Point Turnout.

Emergency teams transported the two occupants in the SUV to St. John’s Medical Center. Unfortunately, though, the driver, Pamela Paltridge, of Australia, died from her injuries. The second occupant received treatment and was later released. Meanwhile, medical officials treated the semi-truck driver at the scene and released him.

Currently, Wyoming Highway Control is investigating the incident and the cause of the crash. Along with Grand Teton National Park rangers, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, and Teton County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the call.

“The park and all those involved extend their condolences to the Paltridge family and friends,” Grand Teton said in its official statement.

Grand Teton National Park Also Announces Fire Reduction Burn Plans

Earlier this month, Grand Teton National Park announced that it would begin prescribed burns in eight locations throughout the park in order to reduce the risk of wildfire. Previously, park officials have been collecting “slash piles” of debris and brush. Now that they’ve consolidated the excess foliage, they’re able to move onto the next step in the process – actually burning them.

“Fuel reduction includes thinning and removing lower limbs from trees and the removal of dead wood and brush from the forest floor,” the park shared in an official release. “Firefighters place the slash from fuel reduction work into tepee-shaped piles and let them cure for a year before burning them.”

The fuel reduction process occurs fairly frequently in our western national parks and is an important part of preserving the delicate ecosystems there.

“Firefighters will burn these piles under low fire behavior conditions resulting from wet weather and snow accumulation. Smoke may be visible from these piles during the day of ignition and may linger in the area for a few days.”

Over the next few weeks, burnings will occur in the following eight locations:

  • Colter Bay
  • Historic Bar BC Dude Ranch
  • Beaver Creek
  • Elk Ranch
  • Kelly
  • Murie Ranch
  • Seligman South – by the south boundary at Poker Flats
  • Sky Ranch

While Grand Teton National Park staff has determined the areas the burns, the time frame is still unclear.

“It is difficult to predict exactly when the burning will occur because reduction piles are only ignited under certain conditions, including favorable smoke dispersal and weather conditions that limit the chance of fire spread,” the release read.

As a result, in the coming weeks, park rangers will keep a close eye on the weather patterns.