Fatal ATV Accident Friday Afternoon Claims Two Lives
(Cody, Wyo.) – According to a media release issued by The Park County Sheriff’s Office, a Cody couple died on Friday, August 4, 2017 when their ATV side-by-side tumbled off of the Morrison Jeep Trail. Allen Heald Phillips, age 69 and his wife Annette, age 66 were ascending the trail at approximately 2:00 p.m. with a group of friends when the crash occurred.
The Morison Jeep Trail (Forest Service Road 120) is located in the Clarks Fork Canyon southwest of Clark, approximately 4.5 miles from the end of Highway 292. It is a steep set of narrow switchbacks that ascends some 5,700 feet to the Beartooth Plateau.
The call came into the Park County 911 Communications Center at 2:47 p.m. reporting the crash. Initial reports were one confirmed fatality and one critically injured. A Park County deputy was immediately dispatched to the canyon as were members of the county’s Search and Rescue Unit, Clark Fire, Clark First Responders, an ambulance from Powell Valley Hospital and a helicopter from REACH Air Medical Services.
At 3:25 p.m., REACH Air Medical was able to land their helicopter in the canyon ½ mile from the crash scene. Their medical personnel were then able to hike up to the scene where they pronounced both victims deceased.
While no one actually witnessed the crash, statements from the Phillips’ companions and evidence at the scene indicated that the couple had attempted to negotiate a hairpin turn in the trail and took the switchback too wide.
They then attempted to back up to get a better angle on the turn but in doing so, accidentally backed over the edge and tumbled down four levels of the trail before the ATV came to rest on its top in the middle of the trail below.
Both victims were eventually recovered by members of the Park County Search and Rescue Unit with assistance from Clark Fire. At 6:30 p.m., they were brought out of the canyon and turned over to representatives from the Park County Coroner’s Office.
The Morrison Jeep Trail has been closed by the US Forest service until further notice.