NEWS BRIEFS for Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020


Bond set for man accused of stabbing girlfriend 30 times

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend about 30 times early Sunday morning at their east Cheyenne apartment had his initial appearance Tuesday morning in Laramie County Circuit Court.

Anthony Brassard, 29, was charged with first-degree attempted murder, interference with a peace officer-resist, interference with a peace officer-injury and unlawful contact-touch. His bond is set at $1 million, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 in circuit court.

Brassard had originally barricaded himself in his apartment, and the SWAT Crisis Negotiation Unit had to deploy gas into the apartment to take him into custody, according to police.

According to court documents:

On Aug. 30, Cheyenne police responded to the Windwood Manor Apartments after receiving calls of a female calling for help and blood surrounding the entrance to the apartment.

When officers arrived, they found a woman lying in the residence with stab wounds across her body and suffering from severe blood loss. 

When the woman was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, she stated “Anthony did it” before passing out. She also told officers Brassard tried to force her to take pills orally and nasally, which medical staff confirmed.

Medical staff estimated she lost about half her blood, and lost another 500 milliliters of blood during her surgery. The woman was stabbed on her arms, legs, clavicle and back. One of the stab wounds sliced her spleen.

As of Monday, she remained at the hospital in serious condition.

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With no students, teachers at Arvada school assigned elsewhere

SHERIDAN (WNE) — With classes in the third week of the 2020-2021 school year, Charles Auzqui, superintendent of schools in Arvada and Clearmont, commended students and staff for the adjustments required amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very proud of the kids — the kids and parents have done a really great job with the start up,” Auzqui said.

While some of those COVID-19-related changes involve social distancing and masks, Auzqui noted it also includes staff from Arvada Elementary School being absorbed into other duties within the district. The Arvada school has no students this year; the family whose children would have attended that school opted to homeschool this year.

Sheridan County School District 3 staff began considering the possibility of no students at the school last spring, when it had six students. Auzqui also noted that there are no students projected to enroll in the school in the near future.

Before the family opted to homeschool, Arvada Elementary School would have had two students this year, with the average over the last several years ranging from four to seven children.

To Auzqui’s knowledge, this is the first time the school hasn’t had any students enrolled.

“I want to make clear we didn’t close the school,” Auzqui said.

Teachers and staff were reassigned, but still work within the district.

“Nobody lost their jobs; we just rotated people around,” Auzqui said.

Auzqui said the district will look at mothballing the school, meaning it will not close and will be ready to quickly reopen if enrollment ticks up again in the future.

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Man arrested in bomb threat against Bill

DOUGLAS (WNE) — A bomb threat made against a Bill hotel earlier this year has resulted in the arrest of an Oregon man on three felony charges and three misdemeanors. 

Joseph Arata, 52, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, has been charged with blackmail, making terroristic threats and aggravated assault – all felonies – and with domestic battery, stalking and communicating threats – all misdemeanors following the bomb threat called in about the Travelodge in Bill in late June. 

Authorities say Arata called the Converse County Joint Justice Center and threatened to detonate a bomb at the motel in 30 minutes if an employee, Amanda Jackson, was not terminated from her job. 

Jackson told investigators Arata was her ex-boyfriend and that he had been calling and texting her throughout the day with threats to harm and/or kill her, according to court records. 

Arata had made numerous threatening phone calls and texts to Jackson between February 2020 to June, some of which included threats of physical violence and murder, according to the affidavit. 

Arata was fired from the Travelodge in February and moved into a Douglas motel, where Jackson visited him on at least one occasion. She claimed he locked her in the room, threatened to kill her if she left, punched her and threatened her with a knife, according to court documents.

Arata pleaded not guilty to the charges in Converse County Circuit Court on July 13 before being bound over to Eight Judicial District Court to stand trial. 

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Yellowstone road still closed after gasoline spill

JACKSON (WNE) — The Yellowstone National Park road between Mud Volcano and Fishing Bridge Junction remained closed Tuesday after a tanker trailer spilled gasoline, but park officials expect to have it reopened soon.

"The park strives to reopen the road within a week, once the cleanup effort is finished and the road is repaired," park officials said in a Tuesday news release. 

Crews dug a large hole in the road to determine the extent of the fuel spill, remove contaminated soil and ensure cleanup, the release said. The hole is 100 feet wide by 100 feet long by 10 feet deep.

The park is coordinating the cleanup with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

"This is the largest roadside fuel spill in Yellowstone National Park in nearly 20 years," the release said.

The accident happened Thursday when a commercial motor vehicle transporting unleaded gasoline to facilities in the park had its tandem trailer flip on its side on the west side of the road, spilling approximately 3,000 gallons of unleaded fuel.

Due to the prolonged road closure, the park recommends visitors consider alternate routes.

Currently, Mud Volcano is only accessible from the north and Fishing Bridge Junction is only accessible from the south and from the East Entrance.

For up-to-date road information, visit GO.NPS.gov/YellRoads, call 307-344-2117 for a recorded message or sign up to receive mobile Yellowstone road alerts by texting "82190" to 888-777.

Currently, there is no evidence that gasoline entered the Yellowstone River. The incident remains under investigation.

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