Armed fugitive frozen out in Bondurant

Driven out of hiding by -15 temperatures

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Numerous Bondurant residents – including families within a quarter-mile of the post office – did not know about this serious incident until someone else notified them, for many the next morning. Some others reported getting at least two “warning messages.”

To sign up for Sublette County alerts, log in to and click on the “sign up for emergency alerts.”

SUBLETTE COUNTY– A man wanted in Idaho on a sexual assault warrant was found in a Bondurant café parking lot late Friday night, Feb. 23. He then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase north along Highway 191 before he crashed and took to the woods.

Officers set up a roadblock at the south end of Hoback Canyon near Black Powder Guest Ranch where Robert J. Richey, 51, crashed his car, leapt out with a handgun and ran into the woods. He returned to the highway, very cold in -15º temperatures several hours later and turned himself in without incident.

Richey was charged in Sublette County Circuit Court with eluding a police officer, speeding at 118 mph in a 50-mph zone, open container of alcohol and reckless driving, all misdemeanors.

Monday morning, Sublette County Attorney Clay Kainer asked Judge Curt Haws to set $5,000 cash or surety bail for the local charges, saying Richey had “definitely demonstrated he is a flight risk.”

Richey, who was nearly silent through the hearing, heard his rights regarding extradition to Idaho to face charges there. Judge Haws noted Richey’s arrest warrant calls for $100,000 bond.

The late-night series of incidents began when the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office notified Sublette County about a man that Idaho law enforcement was searching for, with an arrest warrant for alleged sexual assault involving a minor.

Lincoln County “pinged” Richey’s cell phone and located him near a cell tower in the Bondurant area, according to Sgt. Travis Bingham. Deputies went to Bondurant around 10 p.m., and found the man’s vehicle in the Branding Iron Café parking lot.

“The suspect saw the deputy and sped off, initiating a high speed-pursuit,” Bingham said.

About 10 minutes later, Richey had crashed his vehicle at the south end of Hoback Canyon and ran away. Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers and Sublette County deputies set up a perimeter, stopping people to warn them about the armed fugitive and to not stop for anyone or let anyone into their houses.

At 10:48 p.m., Sublette County Emergency Management posted an “armed fugitive in your area” alert on Facebook, warning local residents to stay in their homes. The sheriff’s office also sent out recorded messages via “reverse 911” to people living between the Bondurant Post Office and Black Powder Guest Ranch for those who signed up their phone numbers for emergency alerts.

The sheriff’s office had been preparing to use night-vision equipment to follow the fugitive’s tracks in the snow when he returned to the highway and was taken into custody. Richey was checked out by EMTs and taken to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.

Richey was released from St. John’s on Saturday and taken to the Sublette County Jail to await his hearing in Circuit Court Monday. He remains in custody.

The SCSO and SCEMA would like to thank the public for their cooperation in this matter. If you would like to sign up for Sublette County Emergency Alerts, please log in to the County website at and click on the “Sign-up For Emergency Alerts” in

Big Piney, Marbleton councils find common ground

BIG PINEY – Marbleton’s council came to Big Piney Town Hall before last Tuesday’s town council meeting and the two sets of officials worked out many events and ideas they have in common.

They talked about the July Fourth Chuckwagon Days’ pancake breakfast and rodeos, Arbor Day tree orders, mutual aid agreements for water and sewer problems and joint tourism efforts between the two towns – which are so close together visitors are sometimes not sure if they’re in Marbleton or Big Piney.

And the suggestion to merge the two towns only came up once.

Marbleton Mayor Jim Robinson had proposed the “casual meeting” at his council’s Feb. 12 meeting. Councilmembers Jeff McCormick, BJ Meador and Roger McMannis came with consultant Sam Bixler, town clerk Anita Boehm and public works manager Todd Brown.

Mayor Michelle Hymas, councilmembers Sherri Redden and Aimee Davison and deputy town clerk Linda Morton, represented Big Piney before their Feb. 20 council meeting

“Do you think we need to start working on our tourism,” Hymas asked. “We have three hotels here.”

Suggestions included photos of local landscapes and activities, banners, sandwich boards and websites. They talked about using a Forest Service kiosk to be at Marbleton’s statues park, where public restrooms are being built.

Marbleton also brought up having a more formal water/sewer mutual aid agreement with Big Piney. The Wyoming Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WYOWARN) provides training, coverage and compensation for equipment and labor


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