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From Wyoming News Exchange Newspapers 

Wyoming News Briefs


October 29, 2020

Two Campbell County residents killed in Thursday morning crash

GILLETTE (WNE) — Two Gillette residents were killed in a two-car crash about 9 a.m. Thursday about 34 miles south of Gillette on Highway 59 near Breene Road. 

A Ford E-350 with seven people inside was headed southbound on Highway 59 when it rotated counterclockwise due to the snow and ice on the road and went into the opposite lane, said Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeremy Beck. 

A 33-year-old man in a Ford F-150 was driving north and veered to the right to avoid a crash, but the two vehicles ended up colliding on the east shoulder of the road, Beck said.

Two passengers in the E-350, Michele Renaud, 38, and Nicholas Tabler, 47, were pronounced dead at the scene. Renaud was killed instantly from blunt force trauma, said County Coroner Paul Wallem. Tabler was ejected from the car and died instantly, Wallem said.

Firefighters extricated two other people from one of the vehicles, and a total of six people — the driver of the F-150 and five from the E-350 — were taken in two ambulances to Campbell County Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Traffic was shut down for more than two hours, said Sheriff Scott Matheny.

Rock Springs man charged with manslaughter in wife’s death

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — The Sweetwater County Sheriff ’s Office announced that an arrest has been made in connection to the shooting death of a Rock Springs woman earlier this year. 

Lena Lynn Fletcher, 46, of Rock Springs, was shot to death in her home on June 29. 

She lived in the 100 block of Steamboat Drive in the unincorporated neighborhood of Clearview Acres west of Rock Springs. 

Upon arrival at the residence, deputies witnessed Fletcher’s husband, Jason Lee Fletcher, 45, also of Rock Springs, straddled over the top of his wife’s body holding a towel over a gunshot wound to her neck, according to a press release. Lena Fletcher was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

Her husband initially claimed that she either accidentally or purposely shot herself with a loaded revolver after a night of heavy drinking, the release said, but a forensic pathologist ruled her death a homicide. 

Through the course of the months-long investigation, sheriff ’s detectives uncovered more pieces of forensic and ballistic evidence contrary to her husband’s claim that Lena’s fatal injuries were the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

A bench warrant was issued for Jason Fletcher’s arrest earlier Friday morning, and sheriff ’s detectives arrested him Friday afternoon without incident, according to the release. 

Fletcher is charged with involuntary manslaughter, which in Wyoming is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years. Fletcher remains in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center awaiting his initial appearance in court.

Airport loses money in email scam

CODY (WNE) — Yellowstone Regional Airport has fallen victim to cybertheft.

Heidi Rasmussen, YRA board member, revealed during a board meeting on Oct. 14, that a wire transfer for $7,829.67 was mistakenly sent to a fraudulent requester posing as the job-hiring firm the airport recently hired.

Rasmussen said this encompassed about the first 40% of payment to Florida-based ADK Consulting and Executive Search. She said it was four days before it was discovered the money had been wired to a fraudulent account.

She said the bank was able to recoup $450 of this loss.

“It was pointed out to me that it could have been much worse and I agree with that,” Rasmussen said.

Ray Lee, airport interim director, said the phishing attempt came from a technological breach through ADK, in which the scammer was able to send a request from a real ADK email address.

He said ADK is pursuing the crime with law enforcement agencies in their jurisdiction and have locked down a potential suspect.

In September, YRA decided it would pay ADK around $22,000 to help the airport find a new director.

Rasmussen said the airport will consider cybersecurity insurance moving forward, which she said can cost around $4,400 per year.

Software will gives users virtual tour of Campbell County

GILLETTE (WNE) — The Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau is preparing to launch software that will give perspective visitors a virtual look of several key tourist sites around the community.

It will use Threshold 360, which creates tours that are put on an organization’s website. It then syndicates the content across various digital channels like Google to target potential customers. Threshold 360 uses local photographers to shoot the footage.

It will allow people to see the facilities, which is important now more than ever because “we want to promote Campbell County, but a lot of people don’t feel it is safe,” said Jessica Seders, executive director of the visitors center.

“If we don’t, we’ll be further behind other communities that offer that capability,” she said.

The program will run for a year, although it is unknown when it will officially launch. Seders hopes it will be sometime in the next few months.

Threshold 360 will be paid for with CARES Act money. The software is eligible because the goal of the project is to re-market a community that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think we would look at our visitor’s guide and we would follow what we already highlight a lot, i.e. Cam-plex, all our ballfields, the Energy Capital Sports Complex, the college, our museums, our parks, the Durham Buffalo Ranch,” Seders said, adding that local hotels, restaurants and businesses also will be featured.

Mullen Fire mostly contained; mop-up continues

RAWLINS (WNE) – The Mullen Fire, which has been burning for five weeks and has reached 176,878 acres, was 81% contained as of Friday. 

Smoke from burning stumps and other heavy fuels was still visible Thursday, and residents who have returned to pre-evacuation areas may continue to see smoke and flames, according to an update from the fire’s InciWeb page. 

Despite the lingering burning, the majority of the fire is contained and is being cleared up. 

Firefighters continue monitoring, mopping-up, removing equipment and repairing damage. 

Approximately 385 firefighters and support staff are still working on the Mullen Fire. 

Because of the current cooling trend in the weather, fire behavior is expected to decrease for the next few days. 

A National Forest area closure remains in place for much of the southern Snowy Range. Travelers on open roads and highways are asked to stay on roadways and not enter the forest. Information and updates on the Mullen Fire can be found at the Mullen Fire Information Facebook page or the fire’s InciWeb page at incident/7208.

After banned items explode, Teton recyclers ask residents to do better

JACKSON (WNE) — After suffering both a fire and a bear spray canister explosion, Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling is asking the public to do a better job properly disposing of batteries and canisters.

“Please remember the human element of recycling and trash in Teton County,” a press release said. “Recycling Center staff work very closely with every piece of material that comes to the facility, and some can be very dangerous.”

Batteries and bear spray are banned from the landfill and should be brought to the Teton County Recycling Center at 3270 S. Adams Canyon Road. 

If they are not — or end up in the wrong bins — the results can be dangerous.

Lithium batteries, the press release warned, “pose an extreme fire risk when exposed to water, heat, or pressure.” 

Recently, they may have caused a fire at the Trash Transfer Station that was extinguished and reignited hours later. Another time, batteries were found in office paper recycling, but caught before moving further down the recycling stream where they could have caused fire or damage.

A bear spray canister mistakenly placed into the glass bin at the Recycling Center was punctured recently, causing the center to pause operations and send two staff members home.


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