NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Cheyenne City Council adopts comprehensive open data policy


CHEYENNE (WNE) – Cheyenne City Council members voted unanimously Monday to establish a policy that city officials say will make more information available to more people.

The new open data policy commits the city to proactively release all publishable city data, making it freely available to users in various open formats, using an open license with no restrictions on use or reuse.

The policy will apply to all city departments, offices, administrative units, commissions, boards, advisory committees and other divisions of city government. But it also will apply to third-party contractors that create or acquire information on behalf of the city.

“This new policy sets the stage as the city moves forward to more consistently collect data, then subsequently and openly share that data to promote a higher level of civic engagement, increase transparency, as well as increase efficiencies between departments, partner organizations and the public,” Public Works Director Vicki Nemecek told council members. “This policy embraces new technology and encourages the software community to work with us to develop tools to collect, organize and share data in new, innovative ways.”

The protection of privacy and confidentiality will be maintained as “a paramount priority,” she said.

Under the policy, the city will maintain a publicly available location on its website or in another online location where the published data will be available.

Deputy city attorney Alessandra McCoy Fakelman told council members the policy “will increase the public’s access to the raw data they are looking for.”



Agencies team up to end police pursuit in Sweetwater County


ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Law enforcement agencies used teamwork and tire spikes to end a police pursuit on Saturday, leading to the arrest of a Rock Springs woman.

Rock Springs Police Officer Amanda Buller attempted to stop a speeding vehicle on Foothill Boulevard around 9:15 a.m. Saturday, according to a press release. Heather Coffey, 33, allegedly refused to stop her Chevrolet Impala and continued to accelerate. Police said due to Coffey’s reckless actions and high speed, Buller discontinued the pursuit and followed from a safe distance.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Green River Police Department responded to assist the RSPD. The vehicle was eventually stopped on Interstate 80 near mile marker 90 after tire spikes were deployed, according to a RSPD press release.

Coffey was arrested for two counts of alleged fleeing or attempting to elude police officers; driving while license cancelled, suspended or revoked; reckless driving, a seat belt violation; two stop sign violations; and two speeding violations.

Coffey remains in the Sweetwater County Detention Center as of press time.




Prosecutor: not enough evidence for criminal charges in Jackson construction trench deaths 


JACKSON (WNE) — Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Erin Weisman will not file criminal charges against Wilson developer Jamie Mackay for the workplace deaths of Victoriano Garcia-Perez and Juan Baez-Sanchez.

She explained her decision in a July 22 letter to investigators.

“At this time, I have completed my review of all of the evidence in the above-mentioned case, as set forth in the investigative reports from the sheriff’s office and the Department of Workforce Services, and I do not find sufficient evidence to support the filing of criminal charges against Jamie Mackay,” Weisman wrote in the letter to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

Weisman added that she would be open to reevaluating the case if more evidence becomes available.

Baez Sanchez, 42, and Garcia Perez, 56, died in September 2018 while working in a 12-foot-deep trench at a construction site at 120 S. Indian Springs Drive, a property owned by Mackay.

In a civil complaint the families of Garcia Perez and Baez Sanchez are suing Mackay and his company Fireside Resorts Inc. for wrongful death. They say Mackay was negligent and did not provide proper safeguards to prevent a trench collapse.

In his answer dated July 9, Mackay denied he is liable and asked the court to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

“At no time did Mackay’s actions constitute outrageous, willful and wanton conduct such as to warrant punitive damages,” Mackay’s attorney George Santini wrote in the response.




Bison injures 9-year-old girl after Yellowstone crowds get too close


JACKSON (WNE) — A bison charged and injured a 9-year-old Florida girl after about 50 people crowded around the bull in the Old Faithful Geyser area.

Yellowstone National Park officials called Monday’s incident the first reported injury so far this summer from a human-bison conflict.

The park’s public affairs office reported that about 50 people mobbed the bull bison, some approaching within “5 to 10 feet” for at least 20 minutes. The crowded wild beast lost its cool, charged and tossed the young Odessa, Florida, girl into the air.

“The girl was taken to the Old Faithful Lodge by her family where she was assessed and treated by park emergency medical providers,” park officials said in a statement, “and later taken to and released from the Old Faithful Clinic.”

No citations have been issued, and the incident is still under investigation, the park reported.

Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay at least 25 yards away from large animals like elk, bison and moose, and keep 100 yards distance from bears and wolves. Invariably, some of the park’s 4 million annual visitors disregard those rules. In June 2018, three Yellowstone visitors were injured by elk or bison in a span of four days.

To raise awareness about such hazardous behavior, the park is now encouraging people to take the “Yellowstone Pledge,” a commitment to being safe and responsible visitors who will set a good example for others.




Missouri man pleads not guilty to trafficking 100 pounds of marijuana


RAWLINS (WNE)  — Jesse Crooks, 25, of Lees Summit, Mo. pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges stemming from a 100-pound marijuana bust made in April.

According to court documents, Wyoming Highway Patrolmen pulled over Crooks east of Sinclair on April 16 after clocking him in at 80 mph, though officers quickly suspected Crooks of more than a speeding citation.

After pulling over Crooks’ truck, the trooper told the 27-year-old he was to receive a warning for speeding and to hand over his license, registration, and proof of insurance. Crooks immediately complied, but shook while he handed over his information.

Court records stated Crooks “had a demeanor of being concerned about more than just a speeding warning.”

Crooks stated he was returning from a snowboarding trip in Utah, with the officer asking him to repeat snowboarding several times, after “he mumbled it,” read court records.

The trooper stated he saw no ski or snowboarding equipment in Crooks’ truck and that the presence of Crooks’ dog was odd for a snowboarding trip.

Court documents said, “It seemed as though he might not have been on a ski trip.”