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Wednesday Briefs

Wind closes section of I-80 to some vehicles

LARAMIE (WNE) — High winds, slick pavement and blowing snow prompted the Wyoming Department of Transportation to close more than 100 miles of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Rawlins to some vehicles.

At press time Tuesday evening, the interstate remained closed to light, high-profile vehicles from exits 359 (junction with I-25) and 235 (Walcott Junction) because of “extreme blow-over risk,” according to the WYDOT online travel information tracker.

Conditions along the stretch of interstate included dangerous winds with some spots reportedly slick with snowfall, slush and blowing snow. The views from WYDOT webcams placed along I-80 showed little snowfall, but enough to cause dangerous conditions.

A high wind watch for southern Wyoming remained in effect at least through 6 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. Wednesday’s forecast was for a high near 37 and winds gusting to about 45 mph.

This story was published on April 6, 2022.


No charges brought in August 2021 gunshot death

SHERIDAN (WNE) – Sheridan County Attorney Dianna Bennett will not pursue charges against a man who fatally shot Leonard Laszlo, 46, in August 2021. Laszlo’s death, law enforcement officials said, was determined to be the result of reasonable self-defense.

Sheridan County law enforcement officials received reports of a shooting in the Bighorn Mountains shortly after midnight Aug. 5, 2021, Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson said in a press release shortly after the incident.

Upon arrival on the scene, deputies found Laszlo dead from an apparent gunshot wound, Undersheriff Levi Dominguez said. Two eyewitnesses to the shooting and the shooter were also present at the scene. All three were seasonal workers in the Bighorns, cooperated with the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation and provided statements describing the incident.

The witnesses explained the shooting, which took place at the shooter’s residence, was the result of an altercation between Laszlo and the shooter, in which Laszlo was the aggressor, Dominguez said. After Laszlo pursued the shooter into the residence’s back bedroom — continuing to escalate the situation — the shooter fired a single shot from a handgun, resulting in Laszlo’s death.

“Early in the investigation, it was apparent that this was looking more like…self-defense,” Dominguez said.

Based on the initial investigation, Dominguez said investigators agreed the case was likely an incidence of self-defense. They decided not to arrest the shooter and told Bennett of their decision.

This story was published on April 5, 2022.


Idaho man charged with driving 132 in park pleads not guilty

JACKSON (WNE) — A man accused of driving more than 130 mph in Grand Teton National Park appeared in federal court Friday and was charged with 10 misdemeanors.

Jessie James Perry, 37, of Rigby, Idaho, was charged with reckless driving, failure to display a license plate, having an open alcoholic container, speeding, careless operation, driving under the influence, having expired temporary license permits, attempting to elude police officers, driving with a suspended license and lack of insurance coverage.

The charges stem from a March 27 incident on Highway 89/26/191, the park’s main thoroughfare. Perry is accused of driving a maximum speed of 132 mph near Moose. The speed limit on the road is 55 mph during the day and 45 at night.

Perry was arrested after a high-speed chase that involved five law enforcement officers and ended when Perry ran into traffic at the Gros Ventre Roundabout, park officials said. There were no injuries or damage reported.

Perry pleaded not guilty and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bail.

He has an Idaho driver’s license, although court documents list a Jackson Hole apartment as his residence.

High-speed chases are seldom seen in Grand Teton park.

“We do get people, as you’ve probably seen, speeding along the highway,” Teton park spokesman C.J. Adams said. “But at these rates is pretty rare.”

This story was posted on April 6, 2022.


Man peeping into area backyards asks Douglas police to shoot him

DOUGLAS (WNE) — A suspicious-looking man looking into the backyards of residents’ homes in the 1200 block of Sweetwater Road was reported to Douglas police Monday around 7:21 a.m.

According to Douglas Police Chief Todd Byerly, the subject was “causing concern, as his behavior was reported as erratic.”

His name has not been released.

Police officers located the man, who “immediately presented a screwdriver in his hand and requested that officers shoot him,” Byerly said.

“Several requests and commands to drop the screwdriver were unsuccessful. After approximately 20 minutes of interaction with the subject, a Taser was deployed, and the subject was taken into custody for further evaluation,” he said.

This story was posted on April 6, 2022.