Doctor life-flighted; partner charged with strangulation
SUBLETTE COUNTY – A local doctor managing the clinics’ emergency services was life-flighted to an Idaho Falls hospital on Aug. 31 after his spouse allegedly assaulted and strangled him during a domestic dispute.
Stephen “Buck” Wallace, of Daniel, drove his truck around 7 p.m. to a neighbor’s home where he got out and collapsed, asking someone to call a paramedic, according to an affidavit by Detective Travis Lanning.
Wallace, previously employed as the Pinedale Medical Clinic’s medical director, returned in March to the Sublette County Hospital District as its emergency services medical director.
Law enforcement and Sublette EMS responded; Wallace said he had been knocked unconscious and strangled twice by his spouse, Nicholas A. Leyva, once with his knee and once with his arms.
Wallace told detectives he went home early from work that day to talk to Leyva about a divorce and while they were eating pizza in the living room, Leyva allegedly smashed Wallace’s phone and ran it under water. Leyva hit Wallace “with something on the back of the head or neck” and he fell to the floor unconscious, according to Lanning’s affidavit.
While Wallace was on the floor, Leyva allegedly put his foot on his throat so he couldn’t breathe, it says. Leyva then allegedly wrapped his arms around Wallace’s neck until he lost consciousness, the affidavit says. Wallace made his way to the door and left to get help.
Sublette EMS intubated Wallace, “who had to hold his trachea in place to breathe” and also complained of rib pains. EMS fitted Wallace with a neck collar so Lanning couldn’t see marks on his throat, it says.
Then Wallace was life-flighted by helicopter to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center; he was discharged Sept. 3, according to hospital staff.
A deputy told Lanning that Leyva admitted to breaking Wallace’s phone and strangling him “prior to invoking his rights,” the affidavit says.
On Sept. 2, Leyva was charged with three felonies – aggravated assault and battery, strangulation of a household member by applying “foot to throat” and strangulation of a household member with “arms around neck,” according to court records. Each felony carries maximum terms of 10 years in prison and or $10,000 fines.
Leyva is also charged with domestic battery, a misdemeanor. He was arrested and on Aug. 5, Leyva appeared before Circuit Court Judge Curt Haws, who set bond at $500,000 cash or surety. As of Wednesday, Leyva remained in custody.
His Circuit Court preliminary appearance is set for Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 2 p.m.