Casper Man Pleads Not Guilty To Causing Triple-Fatal Crash, Not Helping Victims

The Casper man accused of being drunk and causing a triple-fatal crash in May 2022, then not helping the dying victims, pleaded not guilty in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

February 13, 20244 min read

Steven Gale Spearman
Steven Gale Spearman (Casper Police Department)

A 26-year-old Casper man accused of drunkenly causing a horrific crash that killed three people — and not helping the dying victims — pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of vehicular homicide and one of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury.

Steven Gale Spearman entered the not-guilty plea in Natrona County District Court to allegations he allowed the deaths of three Casper-area residents and serious injury of another whose vehicle hit his borrowed vehicle and rolled over May 7, 2022.

Spearman stood next to his attorney, Dylan Rosalez, before Judge Kerri Johnson in an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs to enter his plea. A $500,000 cash bond was continued.

Charges stem from a crash that happened shortly after 4 a.m. on May 7, 2022, when a GMC Yukon driven by Dalton Foos of Casper sideswiped a borrowed 2012 Toyota Rav4 driven by Spearman that was sitting in the middle of Interstate 25 near mile marker 194 outside of Casper, according to court documents.

Spearman was outside of the vehicle at the time of the crash and a witness, a semitruck driver who stopped to help the victims until medical personnel arrived, told investigators the drive of the Toyota was nowhere to be seen.

“I don’t have a clue, unless that was the kid that was up there walking around,” the driver told investigators, pointing to the highway fence behind the Yukon, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

The Yukon rolled over and three occupants — Foos, 22, and Justin Robles, 19, sitting in the front passenger seat; and Abigail Helms, 17, a passenger in the back seat — were killed. Another passenger, Tahayla Kohtala, 19, was hurt.

Blood Alcohol 0.173%

Court documents show Spearman had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.173% after the crash, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% for drunken driving under Wyoming law.

Kohtala initially reported the crash to 911 and told the dispatcher that the Yukon hit a “wrong way” driver. When deputies arrived at the crash site near mile marker 194, Spearman was allegedly walking around by a fence talking with his girlfriend on the phone, a charging affidavit states.

Spearman allegedly refused to get off the phone. But ultimately, he complied and ended the phone call.

Spearman said he had been driving the Toyota, but had borrowed it from a 21-year-old woman who owned it. He claimed the Toyota “blew a tie rod or something” in its front end and broke down in the middle of the road, triggering the crash, the affidavit states.

At the time of the crash, he told deputies, “I had a beer, two or three hours ago,” the affidavit says.

A crash investigation determined Spearman was driving north in the Toyota, lost control, crashed into the center median cable barrier on the driver’s side, spun around and came to rest on the slow lane, facing south in the northbound lanes.

No lights were active on the front of the Toyota, though law enforcement noted that the emergency hazard lights toggle switch “appeared to be in the active position,” says the affidavit.

Handgun Found

The document says police also collected a Hipoint 9 mm handgun from the driver’s side front floorboard.

In an interview in the spring of 2023, Kohtala told Natrona County Sheriff’s Cpl. Ken Jividen and investigations Officer Taylor Courtney that she and her friends had a bonfire the night of May 6, 2022, because Robles had been accepted into a college and Foos was celebrating a promotion at work.

Police dispersed the party at about 11:40 p.m., so the young adults went to the Kelly Walsh High School parking lot to hang out instead.

As the party died down, Foos, Robles and Helms all left together in Foos’ Yukon. Kohtala contacted Robles and asked if she could get a ride home, the affidavit relates.

At the crash scene, deputies found a citation issued to Robles from the party for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Kohtala told investigators that she did not see Foos drink.

“Foos would not drink and drive if other people were in his vehicle, because he was not the type of person to put other people’s lives in jeopardy,” Kohtala told investigators, according to the affidavit.

Each of the three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. The driving under the influence charge with serious bodily injury carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and up to $10,000 fine or both.

Spearman remains lodged in the Natrona County jail.

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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