CARBON COUNTY, Wyo. — A 65-year-old man from Cherry Hills Village died in a motorcycle crash in Wyoming after the solar eclipse on Monday, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said.
Palmer Kauffman was riding a Harley-Davidson southbound on Highway 487 near Medicine Bow at about 12:30 p.m., the Wyoming Highway Patrol said.
“Traffic was extremely heavy at the time of the crash due to traffic leaving their solar eclipse viewing areas,” officials stated.
Traffic was moving at about 25 to 30 mph and it was mostly bumper-to-bumper at the time, according to the WHP.
Witnesses said Kauffman had been passing slower southbound vehicles in the northbound lane.
The driver of a Nissan Xterra was also heading south and decided to pass a slow vehicle. When the driver changed lanes there was a slight impact with the motorcycle, the WHP said.
Kauffman lost control, and he and the motorcycle slid across the road. Kauffman came off the bike and collided with a post.
Kauffman was wearing a helmet but was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Xterra said he didn’t see the motorcycle before he changed lanes.
The incident report cites driver inattention as a contributing factor in the crash, but it’s not clear whether the driver will face charges.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation said there were 550,000 more vehicles than usual on state roads the day of the eclipse. The state has a population of about 585,000.