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Crime - page 26

Rawlins Man Charged With Attempting to Elude Police In Tractor While Drunk

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When it comes to high-profile, low-speed police chases, O.J. Simpson’s 1994 spectacle in southern California is hard to beat.

It’s doubtful Rawlins resident Matthew Farrington was trying to outdo Mr. Simpson but his low-speed chase had an element that Simpson’s did not — a tractor.

According to our friends at Saratoga’s Bigfoot 99, Farrington was driving his orange tractor down a city street in Rawlins earlier this month but unfortunately couldn’t keep it in one lane.

The weaving caught the eye of a Rawlins police officer who attempted to pull Farrington and his tractor over.

Police Sgt. Joel Robertson turned on his police lights and later the siren but Farrington ignored the direction to stop.

The radio station reported that Farrington did, however, “turn in his seat to look at Sgt. Robertson several times but continued driving.”

Eventually the chase ended when Farrington — while driving on the wrong side of the road — stopped at his house and attempted to go inside.

It was at that point that the officer stopped the driver and attempted to administer a field sobriety test, which the driver refused.

Farrington’s mother, however, was at the scene and told officers her son had been drinking.

Bigfoot 99 reported that police documents said Farrington smelled “very strongly of alcohol and could hardly hold himself up.  He was slurring his words, was combative and argumentative.”

If convicted of Driving Under the Influence, it will be Farrington’s fourth such conviction in 10 years, which is considered a felony in Wyoming.  

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Sweetwater County Sheriff Investigating Alleged Sexual Abuse Of Horses

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Tuesday that it was looking into a report of a man sexually abusing horses.

According to a news release on the department’s Facebook page, a deputy took an initial report about a man trespassing on private property to engage with sexual acts with horses. The reporting party owns horse corrals in the Northpark neighborhood of Rock Springs.

The property owner told the deputy that they chained and locked the gate a certain way when leaving the corral at night. When they returned to the corral the next day, it was chained differently.

Given the suspicious circumstance, the property owner set up a trail camera to surveil the corral. Days later when reviewing photos, the property owner discovered images showing someone entering the corral and apparently engaging in sex acts with the horses.

Investigators identified the man in the images, who admitted to trespassing and engaging in sex acts with two horses. The man’s identity is being withheld until formal charges are filed.

“While shocking, this is actually a very difficult case,” department spokesman Jason Mower said in the release. “Wyoming is only one of a handful of states without a bestiality statute on the books.”

Mower also explained that for an animal cruelty charge to hold up in court, it would have to be proven that the man actually injured the horses.

Detectives believe other horses in the area may have been targeted. Authorities are also investigating a possible assault case stemming from the property owners confronting the suspect.

Anyone with information related to this case should call 307-922-5345.

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Officials Investigating Possible Arson At Glacier National Park

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Staff at Glacier National Park and Flathead Crimestoppers are investigating multiple suspected arson fires that started in the North Fork area of the park last week.

The North Fork Landowners Association is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the fires, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

Early in the morning of July 23, a resident woke rangers at the Polebridge Ranger Station with the report of a nearby fire. Later, the Numa Ridge fire lookout reported smoke near Ford Creek.

Rangers and NPS fire crews eventually found a total of eight fires along the Inside North Fork Road between Logging Creek and Kintla Lake. Most of the fires had begun in dry logs or brush, but one fire destroyed the historic Ford Creek patrol cabin.

The cabin was built as a “snowshoe” cabin in 1928 and was used for decades during winter backcountry patrols. The structure was listed on the National Register of Historical Place for having architectural and historic significance, exemplifying the rustic architecture of early park backcountry structures and the history of Glacier National Park’s development and administration.

The cabin site is around eight miles north of Polebridge.

All the fires were extinguished shortly after being discovered.

On the evening of July 22, suspicious fires were reported at the Glacier Gateway Elementary and the Summit Mountain Lodge at Marias Pass. Investigators are working to see if those fires may be related to the ones on July 23.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity on the night of July 22 or early morning of July 23 in the Polebridge or North Fork area is encouraged to call Flathead Crimestoppers at 406-752-8477. All calls remain anonymous. Glacier National Park also has a tip line established, 406-888-7077, if someone would like to talk with a park ranger. 

Center For Missing Children Records 1,000th Recovery After Native Wyoming Kids Saved

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently reported its 1,000th successful recovery, the rescue of four children in Wyoming.

According to a news release shared to the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s Facebook page, the recovery occurred after the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office requested an AMBER Alert for four missing children ranging in age from 5 to 14 who are members of the Northern Arapaho tribe.

Their custodial mother, Stacia Potter-Norris, had taken them from their home outside the reservation, where the tribe had placed them for protection. A tribal court had issued a protective order to keep the 30-year-old mother away from the children.

Wyoming’s AMBER Alert program is managed by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. By using it, the WHP confirmed the children were in imminent danger.

There were sufficient descriptions of the suspect, her vehicle and the children for the public to help find them. The alert generated a lead when Potter-Norris stopped at a glass company to have a rear window of the vehicle replaced.

As she had no money, Potter-Norris offered to sell some guns in exchange for the work. She left her phone number with the clerk, who turned it over to law enforcement.

Another tip came came in when a homeless man saw the vehicle described in the alert at a truck stop. He watched Potter-Norris swapping her car with someone she appeared to know in another vehicle.

The first vehicle was found abandoned behind a Home Depot. Using the phone number the mother gave the store clerk, investigators were able to identify her movements to the Denver area.

At Fremont County’s request, the WHP requested that Colorado issue an AMBER Alert in the the state and provided updated vehicle information. Someone saw a vehicle matching that description at a Motel 6.

Using the motel’s surveillance tape, the children were found safe in a motel room, but Potter-Norris had disappeared. She was later found, arrested on felony charges and extradited back to Wyoming.

“This is a success story that could have gone really bad, really quick,” said WHP AMBER Alert Coordinator and Dispatcher Chris McGuire in a news release. “It really does show how the AMBER Alert works to safely recover children that are placed in harm.”

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Dirt Bikers Cause Significant Damage In Grand Teton National Park

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Group Causes Significant Damage to Historic Hay Field

National Park Service investigators are looking for information related to activities that caused significant resource damage along historic Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park recently.Anyone with information that could help identify any of the individuals involved or was in the area around 8 p.m. on July 18 and can provide any information regarding this activity, please call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or email Information can be provided anonymously.

Grand Teton National Park இடுகையிட்ட தேதி: புதன், 22 ஜூலை, 2020

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

National Park Service investigators are looking for information regarding a motocross event that caused significant resource damage to the Mormon Row area of Grand Teton National Park last week.

According to a news release, the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call around 8:45 p.m. on July 18 about a group of people riding dirt bikes in an open field and operating a drone along Mormon Row.

According to the reporting party and a video captured via cell phone, approximately 50 people were in the area attending the organized dirt bike event.

The group prepared its own riding course, but began to break down the course and load the motorcycles just as the reporting party called the park. The group’s actions were recorded by the person who reported the incident.

Park rangers immediately responded to the scene, but the group had already left the area, leaving behind approximately 1,000 feet of track with a width of 2 to 10 feet.

The event was not authorized and caused significant damage to an area officials have been trying to restore as a sagebrush steppe habitat.

The hay fields along Mormon Row are part of a 10-year project that began in 2014 to remove non-native grasses and replant the area with 37 species of native plants to restore the site to a sagebrush steppe habitat. The project is a collaborative effort between the National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Teton Conservation District.

The various agencies had invested several years of effort into the project, removing invasive plants and seeding the native species. The area damaged by the motorcycle riders had been reseeded just last year.

The area is an important habitat for elk, bison, pronghorn, moose, sage grouse and a variety of other wildlife, which all depend on the sagebrush steppe.

Operating a motor vehicle off roadways is a crime and those convicted can face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Additionally, the System Unit Resource Protection Act provides that any person or instrumentality that destroys, causes the loss of or injures, of any National Park Service resource is liable for response costs and damages.  

Anyone with information that could help identify any of the individuals involved or was in the area around 8 p.m. on July 18 and can provide any information regarding this activity is asked to call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch Tip Line at 888-653-0009 or email the agency. Information can be provided anonymously.

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Laramie Teen Charged With Manslaughter

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Laramie teenager has been charged with manslaughter after shooting a 13-year-old Tuesday morning.

According to a news release posted to the Laramie Police Department Facebook page, officers responded to the report of a shooting around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The 13-year-old male victim was transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital and later to a Denver hospital, where he later died.

As a result of the investigation, a 14-year-old male was arrested and charged with manslaughter. The boy is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Since this is a juvenile matter, court processes and sentencing will vary.

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Wild High-Speed Chase Ends After Highway Patrol Uses Spike Strips & Rams Vehicle

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On Monday, July 20, 2020, a Sheridan, Wyoming resident led WHP Troopers and Sheridan County Deputies on a pursuit east of Sheridan, Wyoming.

The pursuit began after officers were called to the Sheridan Wal-Mart to take a report of an assault. Officers with the Sheridan Police Department were able to locate the suspect vehicle, a 2002 Jeep, as it was leaving. The driver of the Jeep failed to stop for officers and fled east on Wyoming 336.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers and Sheridan County Deputies responded east on Wyoming 336 to check for the suspect vehicle a short time later. 

Deputies spotted the vehicle traveling at 100 mph headed west on Wyoming 336 towards Sheridan. 

Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle a second time, but the driver failed to stop. WHP Troopers were able to successfully deploy spike strips to deflate the suspect vehicle’s tires around milepost one on Wyoming 336. 

The suspect vehicle continued to drive on deflated tires towards the city limits of Sheridan. A WHP Trooper, now behind the suspect vehicle, noticed children in the area of the pursuit. 

Due to the extreme behavior of the suspect and imminent threat to public safety, the Trooper decided to end the pursuit by forcing his patrol vehicle into the suspect’s vehicle. 

The vehicle was disabled a short distance later.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as 32-year-old Sheridan, Wyoming resident Cody A. Zack. Instead of Zack exiting his vehicle as instructed, he made gestures with a knife, as if to harm himself. 

After talking with Zack for an extended time, law enforcement was able to take him into custody without further incident.

Mr. Zack is facing multiple traffic charges, and numerous felony charges are pending.

Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency investigating this incident.

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Sheridan Family With Special Needs Child Stranded In Denver After Car Stolen

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Sheridan family has been stranded in Denver since Saturday after a thief stole their wheelchair-accessible van.

The family of Lane Fischer reached out to Contact7, a part of the Denver Channel, over the weekend to ask for help. The family traveled to Denver for a doctor’s appointment for their young son Lane, who has Down Syndrome.

The family woke up Saturday morning to discover their 1996 Chevrolet van had been stolen, along with much of Lane’s equipment, including “two vents and a vent stand and an oxygen concentrator,” as well as five oxygen tanks.

“It is heartbreaking that someone would even think to take, even if it wasn’t his, any handicapped vehicle,” Yvonne Fischer said. “I just don’t understand.”

The vehicle was stolen from a hotel parking lot in east Denver sometime Friday night. The family uses it regularly to travel for Lane’s appointments in both Colorado and Montana.

Without the van and equipment, the family is unable to return home to Sheridan. They have also been unsuccessful in renting a van for the time being.

“At any point, [Lane] could stop breathing,” Yvonne Fischer said.

People looking to help the Fischer family with donations can follow this link, and use the drop down menu to choose “Help Replace Stolen Handicap Van.”

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Barrasso: Police Reform is Possible if Democrats Don’t Filibuster

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U.S. Sen. John Barrasso on Monday expressed cautious optimism for passage of federal police reform legislation if politics don’t get in the way.

Appearing on CNN, Barrasso told John King that approval for bipartisan legislation to enact police reform looks promising because the House bill and the Senate bill agree on so much.

“There is about a 70% overlap and agreement on these bills,” Barrasso said. “This is a good place to start.”

“With body cameras on officers, with doing the sorts of things that eliminate bad police officers, and giving the good cops the resources that they need, the accountability, the training, all of sorts of things that you have better results on the streets,” he said.

One sticking point has been the issue of qualified immunity — a legal doctrine created through court rulings that shields police officers from civil lawsuits. 

When asked if that issue could be on the table, Barrasso punted while signaling his distaste for it.

“That’s a legal term and it has to do with how many police officers we can sue.  And I want to find out how many people we can save in terms of saving their lives,” he said.

Still, the senator said he was optimistic because of bipartisan efforts made recently with the CARES Act for the coronavirus epidemic and the Great American Outdoors Act to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

He also said there is a real spirit of bipartisanship in the weekly Senate prayer breakfast he attends. 

“We have a history of doing bipartisan legislation,” Barrasso said.  “We need to make sure the Democrats don’t filibuster and Chuck Schumer has been threatening that.”

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Good News: Wyoming Fifth-Safest State in Country

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has been ranked as the fifth-safest state in the nation by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The state’s status as having the third highest number of law enforcement employees per capita in the nation helped with its fifth-place overall ranking, which put it directly behind Utah and directly ahead of Iowa.

WalletHub said it looked at 53 key safety indicators in five categories to determine the threats faced by state residents from a number of sources, including roadway deaths, workplace fatalities and the coronavirus.

The company said the information it relied on for its rankings included state coronavirus response, assaults per capita, unemployment rates, the percentage of adults with “rainy day funds” and the rate of bullying.

With its high number of law enforcement officers, Wyoming placed sixth for the category of “personal and residential safety,” which also took into consideration a state’s number of mass shootings, assaults, thefts and other crimes per capita and the incidence of bullying.

In the category of financial safety, which looked at items such as the number of uninsured people in the state, unemployment rates, foreclosure rates and personal debt, Wyoming ranked 15th. 

For road safety, which looked at factors such as fatal accidents and charges of driving while under the influence of intoxicants, the state was in 16th place, the report said.

Wyoming was in 20th place for workplace safety, due largely to its rank as having one of the nation’s worst ratings for fatal occupational injuries per capita. Wyoming placed 48th in that area, sharing the ranking with North Dakota and Alaska.

Except for Utah, surrounding states trailed Wyoming. Idaho was ranked the 20th-safest place, Nebraska 30th, Colorado 36th, Montana 38th and South Dakota 40th.

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