WNCC mourns deaths of two students

WNCC is mourning the deaths of two students killed in a rollover late Wednesday night near the Wyoming/Nebraska state line. Alexis Wheeler and Hallie Anderson, both 19 and from Scottsbluff, were killed in the accident.

The college says Wheeler, a freshman pre-nursing student, was also a WNCC dual credit student her junior and senior years of high school. She graduated from SHS in 2012. Anderson was a WNCC freshman who began taking courses during the fall 2012 semester. Both students attended the Scottsbluff Campus.

"This is a tragic event and our College community is deeply saddened by the loss of two vibrant young women," reflected Dr. Todd R. Holcomb, WNCC president. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Alexis and Hallie."

Sergeant Steve Townsend of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says Wheeler and Anderson were passengers in a westbound 2006 GMC Sierra pickup driven by Ethan Kaufman, 22, of Cheyenne. Townsend says the vehicle drifted off the right side of the road and into a ditch, where it collided with a private driveway approach. Townsend says the pickup vaulted over the approach and into a drainage ditch, where it flipped over several times before coming to rest on its side.

None of the six occupants were wearing a seat belt and two passengers, Anderson and 19 year old Tyler Hill of Lyman were ejected. Hill is still listed in critical condition.

Kaufman, 23 year old Stetson Allen of Morrill and 20 year old James Burford of Morrill were taken to Community hospital in Torrington, and then transferred to Regional West. Kaufman is in serious condition, while Burford and Allen are in stable condition.

Townsend says the investigation report indicates excessive speed and alcohol may be contributing factors in the accident and the Goshen County Attorney's office will make a final determination on filing of any criminal charges.

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