- Husband-and-wife wildlife veterinarians who were nationally
prominent experts on chronic wasting disease and brucellosis were killed
in a snowy-weather crash on U.S. 287 in northern Colorado, authorities
- Drs. Tom Thorne and Beth Williams, both of rural Albany
County, Wyoming, died when their pickup truck hit a jackknifed trailer
Wednesday night, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and
Colorado Highway Patrol.
- Williams, 53, had taught at the University of Wyoming
since 1982 and was also familiar with wildlife diseases. "She was
probably the foremost chronic wasting disease expert in the country,"
Game and Fish spokesman Al Langston said.
- Thorne, 63, was acting director of the Wyoming Game and
Fish Department for 9 months in 2002 and 2003. He worked in the department
for 35 years before retiring in 2003 and was a prominent researcher of
chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, as well as of brucellosis in bison
- The accident happened around 10 p.m. on snow-packed pavement
near Virginia Dale a few miles south of the Wyoming line, according to
Colorado State Trooper Scott Boskovich. Both vehicles had been going at
least 10 mph below the speed limit. After spinning out of control and coming
to a stop in the northbound lanes, the trailer was struck by Williams'
and Thorne's 2002 Ford pickup, which was wedged underneath, according to
Master Trooper Ron Watkins. The rig driver, Bruce Gustin, 45, of Divide,
Colo., was unhurt.
- Neither drug nor alcohol use was suspected. Tom Buchanan,
vice president for academic affairs at the University of Wyoming, said
he was saddened to hear of the deaths. "She will be missed by her
colleagues, her students, and her friends, who include everyone who cares
about wildlife and ranching in the Rocky Mountain West," he said of
Williams in a prepared statement.
- Williams earned a bachelor's in zoology from the University
of Maryland-College Park, followed by a doctorate of veterinary medicine
from Purdue in 1977 and a doctorate in veterinary pathology from Colorado
State University in 1981. She earned several honors during her 22 years
at the University of Wyoming, including the Wildlife Disease Association's
Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and, in 1999, the Wyoming Game Warden
Association's award for outstanding assistance to wildlife law enforcement.
- Thorne was one of 3 finalists for Game and Fish director
in 2003. Previously he was assistant chief and chief of the department's
Services Division, and branch chief of the state's Wildlife Veterinary
Research Services. Over the years he was also vice president of the Wildlife
Disease Association, chairman of the Advisory Council for the American
Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, and chairman of the U.S. Health
Association's Wildlife Diseases Committee.
- He held a bachelor's degree in zoology and doctorate
in veterinary medicine from Oklahoma State University. Chronic wasting
disease is similar to mad cow disease, causing brain wasting and eventually
death. It emerged in Colorado and Wyoming more than 30 years ago and has
been found in recent years as far away as Minnesota and Wisconsin. Brucellosis
is a bacterial disease that can cause cattle to abort their calves. It
is common in elk and bison in northwest Wyoming and Yellowstone National
Park. Brucellosis also has been detected in a handful of cattle herds in
Wyoming over the past year, causing the state to lose its federal status
as a brucellosis-free state.
- ProMED-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom and Beth were wonderful colleagues and tremendous,
insightful researchers who followed science, not allowing personal bias
to affect their work. This is indeed sad news, and many of us will miss
them, but the causes they championed and those who have benefited from
their research will miss them even more. - Mod.TG....tg/pg/lm
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging
Diseases" message board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health