After reports that he smashed up a hospital room and swung a broken picture frame at a doctor and staffers, a Laramie man faces criminal charges punishable by up to 12 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
The case rose from the Laramie Circuit Court to the felony-level Albany County District Court last week.
Richard Olson III, who is 23, was a patient in the Ivinson Memorial Hospital on Aug. 17, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed the following day in the Laramie Circuit Court.
Laramie Police Department Officer Austen Ash went to the hospital room that day in response to a report that the man was threatening staffers with a piece of wood from which a nail protruded.
When Ash arrived, another police agent was there with the staffers and they all were holding Olson down underneath a conference table.
Ash joined in, taking the place of hospital staffers.
The hospital workers’ presence in the room “agitated” Olson, so Ash had them leave the room, the affidavit says. The two agents were able to calm Olson down, and he agreed to be handcuffed.
One of the doctors then told Ash that he’d been evaluating Olson when Olson stood up and threw a chair at a female medical worker.
The doctor stood between Olson and the woman until security staff arrived, the affidavit relates. Meanwhile, Olson broke a picture frame, picked up a piece of it and swung it around, the doctor said.
These Are Your Rights
Ash then spoke with the female staffer. She said she was in the room with the doctor, Olson and another staff member. Olson grew more agitated as they talked.
He asked about his rights, the affidavit says, and they tried to explain his rights to him.
Nothing in the affidavit indicates why Olson was a patient in the hospital.
Olson got even more agitated, especially at the female worker. He stood up from his seat, picked up the chair he’d been sitting on and threw it at her, the document states.
When Ash interviewed her later, she was unable to say whether the chair hit her because everything happened so quickly. She pressed the panic button in the room and fled the room, the affidavit says. But she later went back into the room in time to see Olson swinging a piece of the broken picture frame around.
The situation became a “standoff,” the woman said.
Ash checked out the security footage from the incident.
At about 10:39 a.m. on the security footage, Olson rose from his chair, grabbed it and threw it toward the female staffer, the affidavit says. One of the chair legs went through the drywall, leaving a hole in the wall. Then Olson punched a nearby wall, denting it, the footage showed.
The document says he then ripped the picture frame off the wall and slammed it on the table, grabbing one of the sides of the frame and brandishing it toward the doctor, who blocked his way to the female staffer.
Other staff members arrived to help.
Olson was still brandishing the broken picture frame, threatening staffers for a few minutes, Ash reportedly observed on the footage. Then Olson smashed a laptop computer on the table, tried to overturn the table but only jostled some things off of it.
Staffers rushed to Olson and restrained him.
One Felony, Two Misdemeanors
The Albany County Attorney’s Office charged Olson on Aug. 18 in the Laramie Circuit Court with one felony count of property destruction, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, and two misdemeanor counts, both for reckless endangering. The misdemeanor counts carry penalties of up to one year in jail and $750 in fines each.
The circuit court transferred the case to Albany County District Court for felony-level prosecution, where it was filed Aug. 30.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.