SUBLETTE COUNTY – Restless crowds at downtown Pinedale bars on Saturday – the last night of the Green River Rendezvous – led to complaints and ended with a serious assault on a local man.
Christopher Meeks, of Daniel, was found beaten and unconscious behind the Cowboy Bar just before midnight July 9, according to his friends online, who this week are asking witnesses or anyone with phone videos to come forward.
Meeks was stabilized and life-flighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center early Sunday morning; he was since released from the ICU. Details of the attack and his injuries weren’t available.
“Your help is greatly appreciated as the two individuals responsible for the cowardly act have not been arrested due to lack of witnesses,” Rachel Misiewicz posted Sunday, July 10, on Facebook. Responses ranged from shock and sadness to anger and prayers.
His parents, Kay and George Meeks of Daniel, declined to speak publicly about the attack.
“The Meeks family appreciates everyone from those who called 911, stabilized Chris, made multiple reports and came forward,” Misiewicz posted. “It’s not over until these two are behind bars so don’t quit yet!!!!”
Wednesday, Meeks’ friends gathered and posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible. Speculation ran rampant online, where two local people were named and another alluded to four people behind the Cowboy Bar that night.
Sublette County Sheriff's investigation
Thursday, Sgt. Travis Bingham cautioned against paying too much attention to online comments and that the assault is being investigated.
“SCSO received a call about a male subject who was injured behind the Cowboy Bar in Pinedale. SCSO and EMS responded to find two off-duty EMS staff on scene already tending to the injured male. He was transported to the Pinedale Medical Clinic and was later flown by life-flight to EIRMC in Idaho Falls for further care. SCSO detectives were notified and responded after deputies on scene received information that the male had possibly been assaulted,” he told the Roundup in an email.
“Investigators began interviewing potential witnesses and persons of interest over the next several days,” Bingham said. “This remains an active investigation as detectives complete all interviews, collect evidence and compile all the information in this case. We will release more information as it’s available.”
The Sublette County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case for possible charges, he added.
‘Weekend like this’
This year’s Green River Rendezvous started out calm and quiet, Sheriff KC Lehr said.
“The last several Rendezvous weekends have been pretty tame,” he said Thursday in an email. “We mainly deal with alcohol offenses: public intoxication, DUI, domestics, but nothing like we saw this Rendezvous weekend. As I stated, we haven’t seen a weekend like this in over a decade.”
Five deputies were on duty for Thursday through Sunday’s day and night shifts, according to Lehr. Saturday night, four deputies were on duty in Pinedale and one covered Marbleton/Big Piney. The annual Rendezvous Parade took place downtown Saturday at 11 a.m.
“If Thursday and Friday were any indication, I would say this would have been the least publicly attended and most mild Rendezvous to date,” Lehr wrote. “But Saturday, even starting with the parade, there were more people and traffic than we’ve seen in a long time, and it never seemed to wane, even throughout the rest of (Saturday) and into the night.”
The Pinedale Roundup requested details for a timeline of Sublette County Sheriff’s Office incident reports for Saturday evening into Sunday morning near the Cowboy Bar and Corral Bar, a block apart downtown on Pine Street.
Some are in the SCSO’s weekly report; others were unrelated to the assault.
At 9:09 p.m. Saturday, one Corral Bar patron harassed another about wearing a mask.
Meeks’ assault was reported at 11:55 p.m. behind the Cowboy Bar.
At 2:37 a.m., a Corral Bar employee asked deputies to come by “due to the crowd getting a little rowdy,” Bingham said. “Deputies stayed at the bar for some time and the crowd calmed down.”
Bingham said multiple and overlapping calls about the restless crowd and midnight assault resulted in a lot of confusion.
Later reports of “medical emergency” and “fight in progress” were by Deputy Danielle Cooper, repeating information reported on the scene by Deputy Josh Peterson.
Two people went to the SCSO on Sunday morning, July 10, one asking about the fight behind Cowboy Bar and the other George Meeks, Chris Meeks’ father, “asking why no one was arrested for assault,” Bingham said. “This is still an active open investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, 307-367-4378.