Wyoming news briefs for July 9


One dies in Fort Washakie fire

RIVERTON — After the flames were extinguished, one person was found deceased in the remains of a structure fire on Tigee Circle in Fort Washakie. 

The fire, which engulfed part of an apartment complex Monday evening, is under investigation by the Wyoming Fire Marshall’s Office. 

“I have not received any type of preliminary cause,” Fremont County Fire Protection deputy chief Dan Oakley said Wednesday. 

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen of the burned residence. 

Emergency personnel were called at 7:34 p.m. Monday, July 5. The Wind River Police Department arrived first, Oakley said. 

“One of the Wind River Police Department officers did deploy his fire extinguisher into the area that appeared to have the most fire, which slowed fire progression down until the fire department could get there and extinguish the fire completely.” 

Oakley said he didn’t know how many occupants had been within the apartment when the fire started, but he said Frontier Ambulance medical personnel helped a few individuals at the scene of the fire. 

“Just after the fire was extinguished, we were informed there was possibly somebody inside the building, so at that point in time, we made it in,” he said. “We did a search. We did find the victim.” 

He said the person was evacuated from the structure, and “lifesaving measures were provided. “unfortunately they were unsuccessful.” 

As of press time, Fremont County acting coroner Erin Ivie had not provided the identity of the deceased.

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Man shot by Green River police officer

GREEN RIVER — A Green River Police Department officer exchanged gunfire with an unidentified suspect Tuesday night during a traffic stop on Barnhart Street, resulting in the suspect being wounded and transported out of state. 

According to a release from the GRPD, the department received a call at approximately 10:45 p.m., regarding someone at FMC Park had been threatening people with a gun and then left the park.

As the officer received the vehicle description, the vehicle passed by the officer, who conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on Barnhart Street. 

The GRPD release states the individual declined to exit their vehicle and fired their weapon at officers at the scene. The officers returned fire and injured the individual. 

The person was transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County for treatment and was transferred to an unnamed hospital outside of Wyoming for further treatment. 

Investigation of the incident was taken over by Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which is a standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. The investigation is ongoing and as of press time further information was unavailable.

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National motorcycle convention brings millions of dollars to Sheridan

SHERIDAN — Organizers are still tallying the final numbers, but estimates have the recent Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association national convention held June 23-26 bringing in $2.7 million into the local economy.

And it might have actually been more.

Rachel Webb of Sheridan, the outgoing Wyoming state representative for CVMA Auxiliary Chapter 36-1 and one of the organizers of the event, said the recent convention brought as many as 3,300 to 3,500 people to Sheridan, the smallest community to ever host the group’s national convention.

The CVMA is an association of combat veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces who ride motorcycles as a hobby. The association boasts members in all 50 states and began expanding internationally into Europe and Asia.

“In our history, it was the biggest number to attend a national,” Webb said.

According to Webb, about 2,200 full members — those who served in combat — and 500 members of the auxiliary chapters voted at the conference’s general meeting at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome on the campus of Sheridan College.

Shawn Parker, executive director of Sheridan County Travel and Tourism, said if each person attending the conference spent an average of $150 per day over a six-day period that the conference brought in as much as $2.7 million in tourism revenue to the area.

“That’s low,” Parker said of the estimate. “After all, the average hotel is over $100 for a room per night right now.

“That’s a super conservative number … The sky's the limit from there.”

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Man arrested for starting fire, interfering with firefighters

JACKSON — A man was arrested Wednesday for violating the county fire ban and negligently burning property after he allegedly started and then interfered with suppression of a fire that burned the same day along the West Gros Ventre Butte.

Dennis Gross allegedly obstructed firefighters by standing in the way of the only road with access to the fire, which burned Wednesday afternoon near Highway 22 just west of Spring Gulch Road, according to an affidavit signed by Teton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bret Bommer.

While blocking passage, Gross allegedly said to Sheriff Matt Carr: “We don’t need no firefighters. I started the fire, I can put it out.”

Gross continued blocking access as firefighters asked him to move and honked their horn at him, the affidavit states. Carr then placed Gross under arrest for preventing the extinguishment of the fire. Gross’ in-person hearing will likely be Friday.

The fire Gross allegedly started began in the flats at the base of the butte and moved up the hillside. The fire was smoldering with no large visible flames as of 3 p.m. Wednesday. Several firefighters were on the ground, and a helicopter was being used to bring in water.

According to the affidavit, Gross said to officers, “It’s gonna keep taking place like this. If you can’t handle it, be around it, let them go to hell.”

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Man sentenced to prison in assault on 5-year-old

RIVERTON — Moments after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a child, a Riverton man was sentenced to between eight and 12 years in prison. 

Joshua Anderle, now age 20 or 21, gave a guilty plea after the legal “Alford” doctrine, which means that he did not admit to molesting a 5-year-old girl, but accepted the conviction to accept a plea agreement offered to him. 

Knowing there would be no confession in court, Wyoming District Court Judge Marv Tyler asked the state to list the evidence against Anderle. 

“The state is confident (if driven to trial) the jury in this case would find Mr. Anderle guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun. 

LeBrun cited a confession made by Anderle during an interview with Fremont County Sheriff’s Office detective Eric Granlund. 

“He (said)… the victim and he were lying down on his bed, that he poured water on her — basically on her underwear. During the interview he admitted he woke up” and engaged in illegal activity with the child. Anderle had estimated the episode to have lasted about three minutes.

Here, LeBrun said, the narratives differed. The victim said Anderle asked her to do a sexual act but Anderle told law enforcement that the girl did it spontaneously.

Anderle was 17 at the time, and the girl was about 5 or 6 years old, in November of 2017. 

“To be frank, your Honor, at 17 he should not be attracted to a 6-year-old child… And if he is, there’s a reason for that, and it’s a dangerous one.”

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