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Wyoming News Briefs, Dec. 24

Job deaths up in 2018

CODY (WNE) — The deadly wreck on the Chief Joseph Highway construction project in October 2018 was part of an uptick in occupational fatalities in Wyoming for the year.

The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported Monday that the number of occupational fatalities in Wyoming rose from 20 in 2017 to 31 in 2018, a 55 percent increase.

One of those 31 was Cody resident Ronald Frankenberry II, who was determined after investigation to be under the influence when operating the large hauler he was in when it tumbled off a cliff.

The contractor was cited by OSHA for allowing an impaired driver to operate heavy equipment. OSHA said all safety deficiencies noted were corrected.

From 1992 to 2018, there were an average of 33 occupational fatalities each year, making 2018’s count of 31 deaths slightly lower than average. Variations in fatalities from year to year are, to some extent, the result of the random nature of work-related accidents, according to the state office.

There is not always a direct relationship between workplace fatalities and workplace safety. Occupational fatalities are counted in the state where the injury occurred, not necessarily the state of residence or the state of death.

In 2018, nine deaths occurred in trade, transportation and utilities, six in leisure and hospitality and five in construction. Four deaths were seen in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, while three deaths occurred in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.


Mayor’s husband pleads not guilty to domestic battery

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr's husband pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon in Laramie County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.

Christopher "Jimmy" Orr, 54, of Cheyenne was arrested at 8:20 p.m. Friday on suspicion of domestic violence against Marian Orr after a fight ensued at their residence in the 3400 block of Warren Avenue.

Jimmy Orr was released from custody on a $5,000 signature bond set by Circuit Judge Thomas Lee. Lee, along with Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove, are recusing themselves from the case due to a conflict of interest.

Albany County Circuit Judge Robert Castor will be presiding over the case, while Campbell County Attorney Ronald Wirthwein Jr. will serve as special prosecutor.

According to court documents:

Cheyenne police were dispatched to Jimmy and Marian Orr's residence around 7:30 p.m. Friday in reference to a 911 call made by Marian Orr because she "was in fear of Christopher (Jimmy Orr)."

Jimmy Orr stated he got into an argument with Marian Orr, his wife of five years, and threw a cup from the dining room into the kitchen sink that was next to her. Marian Orr saw the broken cup and threw a piece of it back at him.

Jimmy Orr then went into the kitchen and put Marian Orr in a "bear hug" hold and told her to calm down. Marian Orr suffered from a bruise and abrasion on her chin approximately "dime size.”


Judge rules bus authority not liable for injuries

RIVERTON (WNE) — The Wind River Transportation Authority does not have to pay $100,000 to a Riverton woman injured in a bus wreck, Fremont County District Court Judge Marvin Tyler has ruled.

The year-and-a-half long civil suit began July 2018, when May E. Slatter filed a complaint in the high county court against WRTA for injuries she’d gotten in a bus the previous year.

The complaint alleged that Nov. 10, 2017, Slatter was riding a WRTA bus from Fort Washakie to Riverton, but was unable to buckle her seatbelt because it was too small.

The document, penned by Joel Vincent Law Office, states further that Slatter had told the driver of the bus, prior, that the seatbelts did not fit.

The driver slammed on the brakes when an animal crossed the road, the complaint states, and Slatter told the driver not to slam on the brakes because she didn’t have a seatbelt on. Slatter was sitting in the front seat during this time.

When another small animal crossed the road, the complaint states, the driver slammed on the brakes again.

“She suffered from severe facial lacerations on her right cheek, eyelids, and eyeball,” Vincent’s law firm wrote, as well as a concussion and arm and shoulder injuries.

After a three-day jury trial, the jury stated that the driver and management of WRTA did not act in a “negligent” manner as Slatter had alleged.

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