Culwell changes pleas and awaits sentencing

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A woman facing felonies after crashing into a deputy’s patrol vehicle that blocked the street on Dec. 8, 2021, after another crash the night before, changed her not guilty pleas to “no contest” Thursday in 9th District Court.

Mariah Culwell changed her plea based on an April 1 agreement reached among herself, public defender Rachel Weksler and Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson that leaves the two attorneys free to recommend sentences before District Court Judge Marv Tyler. They agreed in advance any prison or probation terms would run at the same time.

Culwell pleaded no contest to two felonies and a misdemeanor – aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon (vehicle), aggravated eluding a peace officer causing more than $10,000 in damages and driving under the influence of controlled substances.

On Jan. 20 she pleaded not guilty to four felonies of aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated attempt to elude police, aggravated attempt to flee causing more than $10,000 in damages and causing bodily harm to a peace officer, and the misdemeanor of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. She faced more than 30 years in prison and $30,750 in fines.

On April 21, Judge Tyler ordered an updated presentence investigation report and Addiction Severity Index assessment before setting Culwell’s sentencing hearing. In the meantime, she remains under probation and bond release terms.

Crosson asked Judge Tyler to dismiss the remaining charges, which he did.

He also granted Weksler’s requests that Culwell accept a job offer, volunteer at the Sublette Center on days off and walk to nearby Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Otherwise she remains under “house arrest” with a GPS unit.

Culwell had appeared before Judge Tyler several times for violating bond release and supervised probation terms. Last year, she had changed her plea on a 2020 felony marijuana charge and the judge deferred a prison sentence in exchange for three years of successful supervised probation.

The series of incidents that started late Dec. 7, 2021, brought her back to Judge Tyler’s courtroom.

After Culwell ran out of gas, she called the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office at 11:50 p.m. for assistance and was guided to a gas station. She stopped at the sheriff’s office at 2:31 a.m. Dec. 8 and submitted a urinalysis that was not tested. About an hour later, a man reported a woman in a red Ford crashed into his truck parked at the Pinedale Best Western, according to Deputy Danielle Cooper’s affidavit.

Cooper said that Culwell drove away and the deputy followed, flashing her lights, but did not stop until she collided with Deputy Krystal Mansur’s 2019 Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle that blocked Pine Street. She was arrested and also charged with probation revocation.

On Jan. 6, she admitted past probation violations and Judge Tyler ordered her to resume her supervised probation with a final warning. He allowed her travel requests – but not to drive herself – to Rock Springs for doctors’ appointments as long as a family member was with her at all times.