Wyoming news briefs for April 30
Jury awards family $2.2M
CASPER — A Natrona County jury awarded more than $2 million in damages last week to the wife and daughter of a man killed as a result of poor traffic control during construction on an Evansville intersection.
Bill Gray, 62, of Casper, was riding his motorcycle on the evening of Sept. 12, 2017 when he was hit by a driver at the intersection of the Old Yellowstone Highway and Cole Creek Road. He was airlifted to a Denver hospital with serious injuries, where he died two weeks later.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation, according to a complaint in the case, was contracting with the Knife River Corporation on the construction project, redoing asphalt and preparing to install traffic lights at the intersection on Yellowstone Highway. Knife River subcontracted with RoadWorx for the project’s traffic control, entrusting them with placing things like cones or barrels to guide drivers safely through the construction.
According to the original complaint in the case, the traffic control setup put in place at the intersection was confusing and unsafe.
On that September evening, said Grant Lawson, an attorney representing Gray’s family, the driver was trying to turn left onto Cole Creek Road from the Old Yellowstone Highway. She wasn’t clear where she was supposed to be heading, and her initial turn took her into an oncoming lane. While trying to adjust and move around the poorly placed barrels, she collided with Gray.
The jury determined in its April 20 decision that the driver was just 10 percent at fault for the crash. Knife River and Roadworx bore 60-percent and 30-percent responsibility each, according to the verdict.
Man pleas no contest to murder of child
GREEN RIVER – A week after arriving in Green River, Christopher Nielsen recalls feeling stressed about not having any job prospects and the possibility of being homeless. He had come to Green River from Utah to help look after his friends’ two children as they worked to establish themselves after moving to the city.
Nielsen told Third Judicial District Court Judge Suzannah Robinson that one of the children, 5-year-old Anthony James Radcliff, wasn’t listening to him as he tried to convince the child to eat his meal.
“I lost my temper and shook Anthony,” he said.
Nielsen changed his plea last Thursday to no contest to a charge of first degree murder. He faces life in prison without parole. Sweetwater County Attorney Daniel Erramouspe said he wouldn’t seek the death penalty. An argued sentencing will take place later.
Nielsen’s plea was submitted without a plea agreement offered by the county attorney’s office. The plea itself means Neilsen admits the information presented in the charging documents, but not guilt in the boy’s death.
Erramouspie said some of the injuries Anthony had were consistent with being shaken, with brain injuries being identified after Anthony’s death. Other injuries consistent with physical abuse were also found, but it was impossible to determine if they occurred in Wyoming or Utah and who caused them.
Nielsen said he realized something was wrong when, after shaking Anthony, the child went into a seizure. Panicking, Nielsen said he shook the boy a second time.
The boy was transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and later taken to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. He died Nov. 28, 2019.
Man’s body found outside Fort Bridger
EVANSTON — The Uinta County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Thursday concerning a man’s body discovered in the Bridger Valley.
“During the afternoon hours of Monday April 26 ... the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a body that had been located in a haystack/field outside of Fort Bridger,” the release said. “The body appeared to be that of an adult male, and appeared to have been deceased for some time.”
According to the release, the body was located close to the area where Trevor Boyd, who was reported as a missing person, had last been seen in November 2020.
Trevor’s missing person investigation has been a joint investigation involving the Evanston Police Department and the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office.
The Uinta County Sheriff’s Office and the Evanston Police Department are continuing their investigations involving the recovered body and any relation to Trevor Boyd’s missing person’s case.
Torrington ranked second safest city in Wyoming
TORRINGTON — Safewise, a home security and home safety consulting group, recently announced Torrington is the second safest city in Wyoming.
According to its website, safewise.com, Worland was ranked first, followed by (in order) Torrington, Green River, Sheridan, Douglas, Laramie, Cody, Rock Springs, Gillette and Lander.
“It all boils down to creating connections with our community and engaging in relationships to help us to prevent and solve crime,” Torrington Police Chief Matt Johnson said. “It’s really critical for us to have a mindset and a value set where we care about people enough, that we are investing in not only preventing crime in our community but helping people to get better every time that we contact them; and helping ourselves to get better as well.”
Safewise does assessments based upon an in-house matrix used to identify the safest cities throughout the United States. It uses information obtained from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other area factors, both quantitative and qualitative, to make its determinations.
To view more information, visit safewise.com/blog/ safest-cities-wyoming/.