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NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sheridan woman faces aggravated vehicular homicide charge

SHERIDAN (WNE) — A Sheridan woman faces charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated homicide by vehicle in Sheridan County Circuit Court.

Angela McIver Livingston, 40, faces the two charges at 2 p.m. in circuit court today after a traffic incident killed her husband at 7:54 p.m. June 9 on the 300 block of East Brundage Street.

Sheridan Police Department officers responded to the location after receiving a report of an individual struck by a motor vehicle. SPD said in a press release that the male victim was struck by a truck being operated by his wife after he exited the vehicle without her knowledge. The wife of the victim had stopped in the middle of the road during a verbal altercation with a male and female riding a motorcycle.

The man was treated at the scene by Rocky Mountain Ambulance and Sheridan Fire-Rescue before being transported to Sheridan Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“This tragedy unfolded due to a multitude of unfortunate events, with alcohol being a contributing factor,” SPD Chief Rich Adriaens said.

The BAC of Livingston was unavailable at press time.

Updates on the investigation will be provided as they are available.


Park County coroner to temporarily store bodies in garage bay

CODY (WNE) — Park County has at least in the short term found a place to keep its deceased.

“It is about the only really feasible, temporary solution that we have,” county coroner Tim Power said.

The county will use a garage bay at the Park County Law Enforcement Center temporarily to refrigerate corpses being analyzed in county investigations. 

Power first announced at a May 21 county commissioner meeting Ballard Funeral Home no longer has space to allow the county to use its facilities in order to refrigerate corpses being analyzed in county investigations. On June 4, Power returned before the commissioners and said Ballard has given the county two weeks until it must move its bodies.

“We’ve got to have somewhere to go,” he said.

Power said funeral homes around the state are slowly starting to no longer allow counties to use their spaces as certain coroners are not re-elected and new owners take over the businesses. 

At Ballard, their purchase of a new refrigeration unit eliminated space for the county’s equipment. 

Although the new location is a viable solution, it is also a temporary one. 

“Certainly if it carries on for years, we’re masters of eviction at the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Scott Steward said.


Driver stranded in Beartooth Mountains by June snowstorm

POWELL (WNE) — Caught off-guard by a June snowstorm in the Beartooth Mountains, a driver had to be rescued from U.S. Highway 212 early Saturday morning.

The 59-year-old man had been heading east on the Beartooth Highway, traveling from Red Lodge, Montana, to Cooke City on the mountainous route on Friday night. It was there, in Beartooth Pass, that the North Dakota resident had the misfortune of running into a late spring blizzard.

“A few miles inside the Wyoming line is where things started to get really windy and heavy snow and drifting,” said Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Pence. “And he happened to drive into a snowdrift and got a little bit high-centered and was stuck there.”

Although the man didn’t have full cell service, he had enough access to text his wife, who called authorities. The Wyoming Highway Patrol was notified around 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

A friend of the motorist attempted to reach the man in a four-wheel-drive truck, but had to turn back because of the snowdrifts — which measured 3- to 4-feet high in spots.

Pence was similarly unable to make it up U.S. 212 in the nasty conditions and he contacted the National Park Service, which plows the Wyoming portion of the highway. They dispatched a plow truck from Cooke City to clear the way to the stranded driver; the truck and Pence reached the man around 5:14 a.m. Saturday and dug him out of the drift, around milepost 32.


Man sentenced to prison in theft of more than 30 guns

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 19-year-old Sundance man has been sentenced to 44 months in federal prison for his part in the theft of more than 30 guns from a Gillette pawn shop last summer.

Gabriel Seth Rodgers was convicted of possession of stolen firearms and conspiracy to distribute LSD and marijuana, according the the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His time in prison will be followed by 36 months of supervised release. He also must pay restitution of $27,116.

Rodgers originally had been charged locally in the case for allegedly helping plan a burglary of 4T Pawn in June 2018 and then selling the 29 stolen handguns and three AR-15 semiautomatic rifles in Colorado. Those charges were dismissed so that federal charges could be pursued against him.

Devon M. Gerlosky, who broke into the building, was convicted earlier of possession of stolen firearms and sentenced to 6.5 years in prison.

Gerlosky told investigators he gave the stolen guns to Rodgers and that he believed Rodgers would pay him $3,000 once the guns were sold in Denver.

Gerlosky also said he had previously stolen eight or nine guns from vehicles around Gillette in June and had given them to Rodgers to sell in Colorado, according to court documents.

Another man corroborated Gerlosky’s story, saying he saw Rodgers with a black bag full of guns about 10 hours after the burglary, heard him discuss plans to go to Denver and then saw him leave for Denver in a gray Cadillac Escalade, according to court documents.


Evanston man facing up to $20 million in fines on meth charges

EVANSTON (WNE) — An Evanston man could be facing 20 years to life in prison and up to $20 million in fines if convicted in federal court on drug-related charges. Sergio GomezArteaga was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 24, in United States District Court in Cheyenne. He is facing one count of delivering 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of possessing 50 grams or more of meth. 

According to court documents, Gomez-Arteaga “did knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree with other persons” to deliver the drug between December 2018 and April 23 of this year, when he was arrested by the Evanston Police Department at Aspen Cinemas. According to the police report, he was arrested for delivery, attempt/conspiracy and possession with intent to deliver. 

He was still in custody from that arrest when the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office booked him again on May 29, for the outstanding federal warrant stemming from the grand jury indictment. 

Each of the two charges carries the possibility of a hefty sentence — 10 years to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10 million.


Roofer cited for leaving construction trash on public land

JACKSON (WNE) — A Denver roofer on the long drive back from a Jackson Hole homebuilding site has been fined for leaving a heap of construction trash on the publicly owned sagebrush flats outside Farson.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that it issued an undisclosed party a “substantial citation” for dumping pallets, shingles and other debris on its land adjacent to Highway 191 just north of Farson. Citing BLM policy, a spokesperson for the federal agency last week declined to name the cited party or specify the amount of the fine, which is bondable and does not require a court appearance.

BLM personnel conferred with federal attorneys and reversed course Monday, identifying the illegal litterer as 31-year-old Denver resident Idalia Reyes-Cruz and specifying that she was fined $780. BLM spokeswoman Courtney Whiteman said Tuesday that she did not know the name of the business Reyes-Cruz worked for or the Jackson Hole contractor she subcontracted for, but would provide that information once it became available.

A left-behind water bottle and paperwork provided a BLM law enforcement officer with the evidence needed to identify Reyes-Cruz.

“During our investigation we found a water bottle with a name written on it,” an unidentified BLM law enforcement official said in a statement. “We tracked that person down and used invoices left at the scene to determine the company responsible. We learned the trash originated from a contractor working in the Jackson area and traveling back to Colorado through Farson.”


Rock Springs makes the top 15 small towns to visit

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Rock Springs was named as one of the top 15 best small towns to visit in 2019, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

“It’s an honor to see Rock Springs mentioned in such a respectable publication,” Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo told the Rocket-Miner. “It goes to show how the hard work of our employees and dedicated volunteers are paying off. It’s great to know that people across the nation and around the world have the ability to investigate who we are in Rock Springs and hopefully visit us to experience all we have to offer.”

Smithsonian Magazine received geographical information from Esri, which provides details about everything from resident dance companies and art galleries to the concentration of historic sites in American towns with a population of 25,000 or under. The magazine said the top town embrace community, reflect hometown pride and have their own unique offerings, according to a Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency press release.

Rock Springs has quite a few extraordinary offerings, from a new establishment specializing in sweet and savory crepes and a restored performing arts venue to a hip, year-old brewery on South Main Street, 

the release states.

Smithsonian reported that one of the attractions that put Rock Springs on the list was the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, making it a big year for the town built by 

the railroad. Several coal mines in Rock Springs helped power the Union Pacific Railroad’s steam trains.