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APRIL 30 Wyoming News Briefs

Sheridan student injured by bus dies

Sheridan student injured by bus dies

SHERIDAN (WNE) — A Sheridan student has died as a result of injuries suffered after being pulled under a school bus April 22.

After several days spent in a coma due to brain injuries, 6-year-old Esperanza Lagunes-Aarstad died on the afternoon of Friday, April 26, an extended family member confirmed.

Lagunes-Aarstad attended Woodland Park Elementary School and was transferring buses at Henry A. Coffeen Elementary School when the incident occurred.

Sheridan County School District 2 released a statement Saturday expressing its condolences.

“Our district is devastated, and we are doing everything we can to support her family through this tragedy,” the statement read in part. “Through communication with the family, the student’s grandparents asked that we share their sincere gratitude with the school and community for the outpouring of support … With the guidance of professionals we will visit with our students, one classroom at a time, to answer questions and talk about how they’re feeling.

“Additional counselors and school psychologists are on hand at Woodland Park, Henry A. Coffeen, and our transportation department to spend time with students and staff who need extra help,” the release continued. “Every student and staff member knows that our team will remain available in the coming weeks to work with anyone who needs support.”

As of noon Monday, a GoFundMe page for the family has raised more than $20,000 from 383 people.


Man convicted in 2016 murder seeks new trial

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — A Utah man in the Wyoming State Penitentiary serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder has petitioned for a new trial claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.

Bradley Ross Fairbourn, 21, of Draper, Utah, has filed for a Rule 21 hearing to consider his contention of ineffective counsel. The hearing is set for 9 a.m. on May 8 in Sweetwater County 3rd District Court.

Fairbourn was found guilty in February 2018 of the June 2016 fatal stabbing of Naisha Rae Story and seriously injuring Linda Natalia Arce. He was subsequently sentenced in May of that year to two concurrent life sentences by Sweetwater County 3rd District Court Judge Richard Lavery.

Fairbourn continued throughout sentencing to claim he was innocent of the crimes.

Fairbourn contends ineffective counsel on the grounds that his defense attorney knowingly relied on inadmissible hearsay to introduce his case, did not peremptorily strike or ask follow-up questions regarding a potential juror’s attorney/client relationship with the state’s lead attorney, inappropriately asked law enforcement witnesses their opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendant or the credibility of other witnesses, and failed to object to any inadmissible hearsay evidence at trial.


Magazine ranks Jackson Hole High School best in state

JACKSON (WNE) — Teton County public school students attend the best high school in the state, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

The organization considers a “best” school to “be one that serves all of its students, including historically underserved populations.”

In the 2019 national rankings that became public Tuesday, Jackson Hole High School topped the Wyoming list. Sheridan High School, Laramie High School, Pinedale High School and Riverside High School round out the top five.

The high school comes in 663rd out of more than 17,000 schools ranked around the country. Schools in large cities far outnumber those in remote rural areas in the rankings.

A magnet school in South Carolina came in first; Massachusetts had the most schools ranked in the top 25 percent. Maryland, California and Connecticut follow in suit, with Wyoming in 41st.

“Our mission with the Best High Schools rankings has always been to educate families about the schools in their district,” Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, said in a press release. “By evaluating more schools than ever before, the new edition expands that focus so all communities can see which schools in their area are successfully serving their students – including historically underserved populations.”

Rankings look at six factors: college readiness (participation and performance on advanced placement and International Baccalaureate exams), reading and math proficiency, reading and math performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and graduation rates.


Woman who led troopers on high-speed chase sentenced

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A woman who led Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers on a high-speed chase along Interstate 25 in April 2018 was sentenced Monday to 18-36 months in prison.

Michelle Peoples, 38, had pleaded guilty earlier as part of a plea agreement that would have suspended her sentence and allowed her to enter probation. But after failing to appear at an interview as part of the pre-sentencing investigation, the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office declined to stand behind that recommendation.

Peoples was arrested on April 7, 2018, after being stopped by the Wyoming Highway Patrol near Interstate 25. The car she was driving matched a description of a car that had been involved in a hit-and-run in Cheyenne earlier in the day.

As the state trooper talked with Peoples in her car, she seemed agitated, and the trooper asked her to step out of the car. She refused, and as the trooper tried to remove her, Peoples drove away.

Peoples at one point was driving 110 mph on I-25 southbound while trying to flee the Highway Patrol. She was stopped when a trooper deployed a spike strip and disabled the car she was driving.

Once she was under arrest, the state troopers found a suspected heroin spoon, methamphetamine and a broken pipe in the car. The car she was driving also had been reported as stolen from Colorado.

During her booking into the Laramie County jail, about 2 grams of heroin was discovered in her possession, leading to an additional charge.


Cody man dies in Park County Detention Center

POWELL — A Cody man who was being held in the Park County Detention Center on burglary allegations has died by suicide, the Park County Sheriff’s Office says.

Robert “Bobby” Jackson, 45, was being held at the Cody jail on allegations that he’d stolen dozens of guns from a resident’s home in late 2018.

Fellow inmates found Jackson unresponsive in the shower area around 10:15 a.m. Sunday, said Lance Mathess, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

Detention deputies immediately began performing CPR on Jackson, doing so until an ambulance arrived from West Park Hospital, Mathess said. Jackson was then taken to the Cody hospital and later transferred to Billings Clinic’s hospital in Billings, where he died Monday afternoon, Mathess said.

Jackson was facing a felony charge of aggravated burglary, which carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison. In charging documents, the sheriff’s office alleged that Jackson had stolen roughly 34 guns from a rural Cody resident, then attempted to cover up the theft. The guns were stolen in December, but the theft wasn’t reported until this month. Jackson was arrested April 11.

He waived his right to a preliminary hearing in circuit court last week, allowing his case to proceed toward a trial in district court. Jackson’s bail was lowered from $50,000 to $30,000, but he had remained in jail.

Mathess said the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating Jackson’s death.


Cody Stampede inducted into Rodeo Hall of Fame

CODY (WNE) — The ripple effect of joy throughout Cody may have jolted the Richter Scale last week when the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede Rodeo was notified it will be inducted into the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Stampede Board members were giddy upon learning the Colorado Springs organization voted in the century-old rodeo for an Aug. 3 luncheon ceremony in Colorado.

“We’re thoroughly in shock and honored,” said Mike Darby, currently co-president of the board that is feverishly preparing for this summer’s 100th anniversary celebration.

“It’s so fitting with our centennial. You smile from ear to ear. It is an amazing thing.”

Darby said board members were informed within the hour of receipt of last Monday’s news from the Hall of Fame.

“I think it gives even more credibility to what we have here in rodeo, in the community and in the region,” Darby said.

The tradition of the Stampede honors the life of William F. Cody, the Old West scout and showman who helped found the community and died in 1917.

As the 100th, this year’s Stampede, June 30-July 4, is being heralded as a grand party.

The Stampede Board has been discussing sprucing up the sign at Stampede Park that proclaims Cody’s status as the rodeo capital. Now it is expected an announcement of Hall of Fame recognition will join the older wording.

“In big letters,” Darby said.

The 40-year-old Hall of Fame honors rodeo-connected individuals, groups and livestock in different categories.

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