Culwell admits to violating probation

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Being arrested and charged with five crimes after a collision with a patrol car could be the final straw for Pinedale resident Mariah Culwell, 28, with the already weakened supervised probation status imposed last year by Judge Marv Tyler.

The 9th District judge had deferred her felony marijuana delivery conviction and prison in exchange for a guilty plea.

The latest petition to revoke her probation alleges incidents of alcohol and drug use going back to August and October; in November she left Wyoming without permission, missed a probation agent’s Zoom meeting, missed group sessions and “absconded” from the state, the judge related.

He had limited choices, he said – he could take away her current probation and deferred conviction and reinstate both or impose the felony prison sentence.

If she denied the claims, the state would have the burden of proof.

“This is just the probation violation charge hearing, right?” Culwell asked Tyler.

Culwell admitted some, denied two and then changed those to admissions and related their factual basis. She said she did call probation agent Jeannie Whinnery after missing the Zoom call.

Judge Tyler did not want to discuss the new charges’ substance at all, he said. “Being arrested and charged with five crimes is not being law-abiding, is it. Do you agree?”

Culwell said: “Yes, Your Honor.”

He said, “There is sufficient basis to support your admissions. Eight claimed violations, all of a significant nature. They are not mere minor infractions; each is individually significant.”

As Judge Tyler prepared to determine the outcome, public defender Rachel Weksler asked “if the disposition could be set out to sort through the new matters.”

Culwell spoke about a “downward spiral” and that she “unraveled,” Weksler said. Culwell’s substance abuse evaluation recommended residential treatment and she had submitted an application to a Rock Springs facility even though it might not affect her court outcomes.

Culwell’s arraignment on new Dec. 8 charges is set for Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. They include four felonies – alleged aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated attempt to elude police, aggravated attempt to flee causing more than $10,000 damages, causing bodily harm to a peace officer and one misdemeanor, driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

She allegedly crashed into a truck in a motel parking lot, then drove away when deputies tried to ask questions, court documents show. One deputy followed her down Pine Street where another deputy performed a vehicle block, with Culwell hitting with the patrol vehicle and a boulder before coming to a stop, according to court records. Earlier Culwell had reported to the sheriff’s office for a urinalysis but the results were not analyzed before she continued on, a spokesman said.

Public defender Rachel Weksler represented Culwell for the probation revocation hearing; public defender Elisabeth Trefonas is taking the new case.

If Culwell could go directly from the jail to residential treatment, her grandfather would follow the court’s requirements, Weksler said, asking if bond could be amended “to allow her to get the help she so deeply needs.”

Judge Tyler noted that as part of Culwell’s 2021 felony plea agreement for deferred prosecution of possession of marijuana, the second of two previous bond release violations was dismissed.

“Eight violations she’s admitted to,” he said of the current hearing. “Treatment centers are not secure facilities – she could walk away. … I’m unwilling to do that considering her history.”