THEM ON US: Suicide by car wreck?

By on June 18, 2013


Car wreck on Highway 789 between Lander and Hudson. (

Car wreck on Highway 789 between Lander and Hudson. (

Suicide by car wreck?

Suicide by vehicular homicide is the stuff of urban myth. It’s nearly impossible to wrap one’s head around the idea that a distraught individual would choose to end his or her life by crashing deliberately into another motorist. It’s too horrifying to even think about, but does it really happen?

Data is nearly nonexistent because so many traffic fatalities are simply chalked up as accidents unless there is proof that one of the motorists involved was intending to kill themselves. Estimates peg the vehicular fatalities that are suicides anywhere from 1.6 to 5 percent of all methods of suicide. An Australian study found 14.8 percent of suicide attempts were planned vehicular “accidents.”

The unthinkable happened in Fremont County last week when a Wisconsin couple – Chase Schweitzer and his fiancee Andrea Esser – were killed in a head-on collision with another vehicle on Highway 789 between Lander and Hudson. Emergency responders first noted the letters “DNR” written in red marker on both couple’s wrists. There also was a note encouraging anyone who found them to donate their organs and bury them together.

The Riverton woman who was struck by the couple, Michelle Mones-Caines, was treated at Lander Regional Hospital and released.

A follow-up story posted by claims Schweitzer, 18, and his girlfriend Esser, 17, had just been engaged. They were reported missing from their home state. Esser’s mother was recently convicted of credit card fraud of more than $100,000 and was turned in by her husband. The family business went under and the couple is in the process of a divorce.

“Life on the farm is kinda laid back …”061913themonus

Former JH Weekly scribe Ben Bombard parlayed his journalistic experience with this paper into a new chapter as an urban farmer. Catalyst Magazine published a short piece by Bombard inviting fellow Salt Lake residents to check out his Wasatch Community Urban Garden and Farm on Windsor Street this Saturday.

The self-guided tour features: “Small livestock, permaculture gardens, intensive and vertical gardening techniques, community and youth gardens, mushroom growing, restaurant gardens, sustainability features like rainwater catchment, solar ovens, beehives, food preservation, and cob and straw bale structures.”

Ben Bernanke’s last ride?

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke already said he would not be making the trip to Jackson Hole this August for the annual symposium where his Friday morning speech has been one of the most anticipated state-of-the-economy forecasts of the year. Bernanke will give a similar type of glimpse into upcoming Fed policy with a scheduled press conference on Wednesday.

Leading into the speech, MarketWatch’s Greg Robb authored a piece that mentioned last summer’s meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole.

“At one of the recent Federal Reserve retreats in Jackson Hole, the central bankers and their guests were treated to an exhibition by a leading horse whisperer. Maybe Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was taking notes,” Robb wrote to match his headline: “Bernanke will try to herd wild markets at meeting.”

The horse whisperer Robb refers to is Buffalo Valley’s Grant Golliher.

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. 22

    June 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    not so unthinkable, as it happens a lot, moreso in the tiny town of Lander for some reason. Humans are subject to despondancy that causes them to have little interest in the value of life whether it be their own or others. Since there are few restrictions on who can operate a motor vehicle, it will remain a means of choice for murder suicide. Thanks to the romantiscized attitude towards the auto, the perpetrators of auto-assault are rarely investigated and punished, the government sweeps it uner the rug with the ‘accident’ moniker.

  2. 22

    June 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Since surrounding yourself with a ton of metal and hurtling yourself through public space is socially acceptable negligence, it is rather difficult to separate the sociopaths from the unlucky. Convenience is a wonderful cover for serial killers.

  3. Joe Katel

    June 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Unless you know the people involved in this tragedy you might want to refrain from labeling them “sociopaths”. I’m sure they were in a lot of emotional pain. How about having compassion for people before they committ suicide rather than condemning them for their actions afterwards? Yes, what they did was wrong, but they needed help and apparently didn’t get any.

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