Hospital trustees change provider contract amid ongoing investigation


PINEDALE — The Sublette County Hospital District (SCHD) Board of Trustees on Wednesday emerged from a two-and-a-half-hour executive session and voted to make changes to the contract with Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) Jason Ray.

Trustee Dave Bell moved to “rescind the contract of Jason Ray previously approved by the Board on June 22, 2022 (sic). Jason Ray’s current contract will be extended for 180 days. Legal counsel will draft a new employment contract for consideration and-or approval by the Board. Jason Ray’s administrative leave will continue for no less than 45 days, or until such time as the Board deems appropriate.”

The motion passed unanimously. Board chair Tonia Hoffman closed the meeting with no further comment about the ongoing personnel matter.

As reported in the Sublette Examiner, the Boulder resident was charged by the Sublette County Attorney’s Office on July 21 with three misdemeanor counts of battery resulting in bodily injury to a minor and a single count of reckless endangering stemming from an alleged July 9 incident. Sublette County Circuit Court Judge Curt Haws issued a summons requiring Ray to appear in court for an arraignment on Aug. 1 at 11 a.m.

Hours after the charges were filed on Friday, SCHD Administrator Dave Doorn told the Examiner Ray had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and that “obviously this is a matter we (the board) are treating very seriously.”

Ray has been with the Marbleton-Big Piney Clinic medical team since August 2016. Since charges were filed, several of his patients have spoken out on his behalf, referring to him in comments on the Sublette Examiner’s Facebook page as the best medical provider they’ve ever had.

Sworn testimony filed with the circuit court by Sublette County Sheriff’s Deputy and investigator Todd Morgan states that the Ray informed him that he was traveling on the upper boat dock/campground road hauling his boat after spending the day on Fremont Lake. He said he was driving slowly because of the potholes in the road when he was passed in the lefthand lane by a 2001 white Dodge 1500 pickup truck in what Ray described as “an unsafe manner” and “at a high rate of speed.”

The juvenile driver of the pickup, whose name is redacted in court records due to his age, 16, told law enforcement he estimated he passed Ray at 30 mph while driving in third gear.

According to court records, Ray told the investigator that when the pickup stopped at the intersection of Forest Service Road 111 and Fremont Lake Road, he pulled in behind him, honked his horn and then approached the driver and began to confront him about his unsafe driving behavior.

Ray told the deputy that the juvenile began to swing at him through the driver’s window, while the alleged victim, and two witnesses, told officers that Ray ripped off the teen’s shirt and struck him twice in the face.

Ray’s sister, Jennifer Pedersen, was also interviewed as a witness. She told the investigator that she did not observe either party strike the other, but did not know how long the teen was out of his vehicle. When asked by Deputy Morgan if she saw Ray strike the teen, she stated, “I don’t know… he could have… he was mad, clearly.” She also reported watching the teen “peel out,” kicking up sand and gravel as he left the scene. The deputy observed, “Tire marks indicating the vehicle left quickly.”
Other underage witnesses, including the 15-year-old who made the 9-1-1 call, described the teen driver as “looking disoriented” and “in a state of shock” as he drove away.

Criminal charges are often dropped or reduced, and Ray is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If convicted of all four misdemeanors and sentenced to the maximum penalties to run consecutively, Ray could face up to 30 months in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.

 

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