NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020

Laramie man accused of stabbing son

LARAMIE (WNE) — A Laramie man was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder this week for allegedly stabbing his son at their house on East Sanders Drive.

The 54-year-old defendant, Bruce Dell, allegedly tried driving a knife into his adult son’s neck during a fight.

Around 9 p.m. on Sunday, police responded to their house on Sanders Drive and found Dell’s son sitting on his neighbor’s front porch, bleeding profusely while wearing only blood-stained jeans.

Police found Dell laying in his front yard.

“Officers could smell the odor of alcohol permeating from the person of Bruce Dell and his speech was slurred,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The victim was taken to Ivinson Memorial Hospital, where he told police that Dell had left their house for about an hour on Sunday and that, when he returned, Dell starting yelling at his son for “a reason unknown to him.”

The victim told police that he tried walking to his room, but Dell attacked him and knocked out one of the victim’s teeth.

Dell then reportedly grabbed a large hunting knife and tried to stab his son.

The victim “explained (to police) that his prior military training kicked in and he tried to grab the knife with both hands to prevent being stabbed.”

At IMH, the victim was treated for a stab wound on his left shoulder, two stab wounds on his left forearm and cuts to his left hand.


Woman sentenced to prison in fatal wreck

GILLETTE (WNE) — Kaycee Smelser said she had never driven 95 mph and didn’t know she was driving that fast Jan. 25, 2018, 4 miles north of Wright when she lost control of her pickup on snowy, icy roads and slammed into a car heading toward Gillette on Highway 59.

Smelser, 34, was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison Tuesday for killing Jessica Cano De Najera, 26, in the crash.

Based on information the Wyoming Highway Patrol pieced together from the crash scene, Smelser was driving south on Highway 59 at about 95 mph in a 70 mph passing zone on an icy morning with blowing snow when she lost control of her Dodge Ram pickup and crossed the center line. Cano De Najera was heading north in her Dodge Journey at about 68 mph. She braked suddenly before the crash.

The two vehicles collided in Cano De Najera’s lane.

Cano De Najera’s car was pushed backward and spun around, while Smelser’s pickup went off the east side of the road and caught fire. Passing drivers helped put out the fire and worked with the Campbell County Fire Department to get Smelser out of the burning pickup.

Smelser, 34, who entered the courtroom using a cane, had significant injuries — ones that left her with about $4 million in medical debt. She said she didn’t remember anything from the crash and didn’t learn for a month that Najera had died.

Smelser pleaded no contest Nov. 28 to aggravated vehicular homicide.


Greybull man killed in accident

GREYBULL (WNE) — A 46-year-old man was killed and a passenger severely injured in a two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon on U.S. Highway 310 between Greybull and Lovell. 

According to a report from the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Jason Haworth, the driver of a Ford Fusion, was northbound when he lost control on “a slick, snow- and slush-covered” portion of Highway 310 that was on a slight incline. The Ford began to rotate counterclockwise toward the centerline, crossed the centerline and was struck by a southbound Freightliner tractor-trailer.

Haworth, who was not wearing his seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. A native of Billings, Montana, he listed Greybull as his place of residence on his Facebook page. 

According to the WHP, the passenger in the Ford has been identified as 40-year-old Billings, Montana, resident Michelle L. Bien. Bien was wearing her seatbelt and flown by helicopter to a hospital in Billings for injuries she sustained in the crash.

The driver of the Freightliner has been identified as 61-year-old

Billings resident Mark A. Grabinski. Grabinski was wearing his seatbelt and not injured in the crash.

The WHP is investigating speeding too fast for conditions and failure to wear a seat belt as possible contributing factors in the crash.


Weather Service warns of spring flooding in NE Wyoming

SUNDANCE (WNE) — The National Weather Service has issued a warning that northeast Wyoming is likely to experience greater than average levels of flooding this spring. 

River basins in Crook County that may be affected include the Little Missouri and Belle Fourche.

The above-average flooding is expected to continue through June in some parts of the Rapid City Hydrologic Service Area, which covers northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. The causes include saturated soil conditions, high river levels and the potential for ice jam-related flooding.

In the Black Hills, flooding generally begins in late April and May, while flooding from snowmelt and ice jams typically takes place from February to May. The flood potential is dependent on weather conditions going into spring as the amount of additional snow and rain will affect severity.

Since October, the National Weather Service reports that temperatures seem to have been below average and precipitation has varied from below to above average in the Black Hills. However, the data was skewed by very cold conditions in October and November; since December, temperatures have been above average by three to five degrees.

Snow depths in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains are believed to range from one to three feet with the liquid content ranging from three to six inches. March and April are typically the two snowiest months.