Wyoming news briefs for October 12

Posted 10/12/21

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for October 12


Deputy rescues juvenile from canal

POWELL — An off-duty Park County Sheriff’s deputy jumped into action to rescue a juvenile from an irrigation canal on Sunday.

The juvenile and another youth had crashed their UTV into a lateral canal shortly after 11 a.m., not far from the intersection of Road 11 and U.S. Highway 14-A west of Powell.

“The vehicle had been traveling eastbound on the canal road at a rate of speed too high to safely complete a right-hand turn,” Charla Baugher Torczon, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said in a Thursday news release.

The off-road vehicle went into the lateral — which is smaller than the nearby Garland Canal — and rolled over. The UTV came to a rest on its top, with the entire cab underwater, Torczon said. The juvenile driver of the vehicle was able to make it safely to shore on their own, but the juvenile passenger was unable to get out.

An off-duty deputy saw a passerby signaling for help and found the passenger still seat-belted into the submerged UTV, “trapped with just their mouth and nose above water,” Torczon said. The deputy then jumped into the canal, went under the UTV to release the seatbelt and got the juvenile to shore, she said.

Park County Undersheriff Andy Varian later praised the officer’s actions in a department-wide email.

“This deputy’s decision to react quickly and save the juvenile from possibly drowning showed outstanding courage and decisiveness,” Varian wrote.


Gas prices up by 2.8 cents in last week

CHEYENNE — Wyoming gas prices have risen 2.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.46 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Gas prices in Wyoming are 3.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. and stand $1.31 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $3.01 per gallon Monday, while the most expensive was $3.94, a difference of 93 cents per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 5.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.25 per gallon Monday. The national average is up 7.5 cents per gallon from a month ago, and stands $1.08 per gallon higher than a year ago.


Woman pleads guilty to assault in stabbing

GILLETTE — The woman accused of stabbing her ex-boyfriend has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and battery, which was reduced from attempted second-degree murder in a plea agreement.

With the plea, the maximum penalty for Karissa Bowling, 26, is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine compared to a possible five to 25-year sentence and a $50,000 fine for the attempted second-degree murder charge.

A count of aggravated burglary was dropped as part of the agreement.

Prosecutors will recommend a four- to six-year prison sentence, suspended in favor of a 365-day split sentence in county jail. 

Bowling was found outside a home May 10 “covered in blood” after someone reported to police that a crying woman and child were in the area. She claimed her ex-boyfriend had held her hostage and attacked her after he came home from a bar at about 2:15 a.m. She told police that she feared for her life as the physical and verbal argument escalated and she grabbed a pair of scissors.

They struggled and she believed she cut or stabbed him and cut her finger in the process, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Nolan Barkey, the ex-boyfriend, was taken to the emergency room with a cut on the left side of his torso.


Six fires prompt Shoshone National Forest warning

RIVERTON — Six human-caused fires have started over the past week in the Shoshone National Forest, officials said in a public alert this week. 

The statement outlined “fall safety reminders” for forest users, many of whom tend to “use warming fires as the weather turns colder.” 

“Fall is a popular time for recreational use,” the SNF said. “(But) this year, vegetation remains dry. ... If you decide to build a campfire, ensure it is in a safe area away from tents, structures, and low hanging vegetation.” 

The statement says campfires should be built using stone or metal rings to prevent easy spreading, and fires should never be left unattended. 

“Unattended or abandoned campfires often cause wildfires,” the news release said. “Always ensure it is properly doused with water. All areas of the campfire must be cold to the touch before it is considered safe to leave.” 

Officials also pointed to human-bear conflicts that already have been recorded this hunting season. 

Bears are currently in “hyperphagia,” the release said, meaning they are “trying to intake as many calories as they can prior to hibernation.” 

“This can often lead to human-bear interactions,” the press release states. “Proper food storage is essential.” 


Quarantine claim stops possible drug search

GILLETTE — The possible search of the home of a Gillette woman, who was under suspicion of drug activity, was postponed Sunday after she claimed her home was under COVID-19 quarantine.

The incident began Saturday night when officers pulled over a 28-year-old woman driving a white 2011 Ford SUV near Ninth Street and Church Avenue for a license plate light violation.

A 28-year-old woman was driving the SUV, which belonged to a 33-year-old woman. A police dog indicated on the car and 58 grams of suspected Spice were found inside, along with 15 dextroamphetamine pills and a digital scale, said Police Cpl. Dan Stroup.

Those items were seized and the 28-year-old woman was not charged with anything.

The next day, officers went to the apartment of the SUV's owner in the 800 block of North Gurley Avenue. While talking to her at the door, officers smelled raw marijuana coming from her apartment. She would not give consent to search, but handed over a marijuana grinder with less than 1 gram of weed in it, Stroup said.

When officers applied for a search warrant, she said her kids were inside and positive for COVID-19, putting her apartment in quarantine.

Officers left the area with charges still pending. The investigation is ongoing, Stroup said.