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Wyoming News Briefs


September 23, 2021

Algae bloom advisory issued for Keyhole State Park

GILLETTE (WNE) — Recreational use and toxin advisories went into effect at Keyhole State Park this month after more of the harmful cyanobacterial blooms, otherwise known as blue-green algae, were spotted in two separate parts of the reservoir last month.

Recreational use advisories were issued on Aug. 19 for the Rocky Point and Wind Creek areas of the reservoir, based on samples collected Aug. 16, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality map of statewide algae blooms.

The bloom advisories in Keyhole are two of 26 harmful cyanobacterial bloom advisories issued throughout Wyoming this summer.

Those same Keyhole blooms also warranted toxin advisories, which were issued on Sept. 3 and indicate the algae bloom samples tested conclusively for dangerous levels of toxins, which also means that people and pets should avoid contact with the blooms.

The toxin advisories at Keyhole are two of five toxin advisories issued by the state Department of Environmental Quality this summer.

Park goers and their animals are advised to avoid water in the areas with harmful cyanobacterial blooms. The park remains open through the advisories, which remain in place until the blooms dissipate or the end of summer recreation season comes on Sept. 30.

The blooms, which also occurred in Keyhole Reservoir last August, more typically occur in late summer when a combination of warm temperatures and still water create an environment for the bacteria to proliferate.

Man pleads ‘no contest’ in fatal wreck

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A man pleaded no contest Wednesday in Laramie County District Court to killing three people and severely injuring another while driving in the wrong lane on Happy Jack Road. 

Jason R. Hanson had been charged with three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of attempted aggravated vehicular homicide. 

On the evening of April 19, 2019, a vehicle driven by Hanson struck a motorcycle head on, causing a second motorcycle to crash, as he drove westbound in the eastbound lane while negotiating a blind left-hand curve in the roadway and going about 65 miles per hour, according to a state trooper and crash reconstructionist with the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s Crash Investigation Team. 

The driver and passenger of the first motorcycle were killed in the collision. The driver of the second motorcycle, who was not killed, suffered serious injuries, including three broken vertebrae, a broken left shoulder, broken ribs, approximately 28 fractures to his skull and a traumatic brain injury, according to court documents. 

The passenger in the vehicle driven by Hanson was killed when the collision with the first motorcycle caused the vehicle’s roof to collapse. 

A blood test conducted on Hanson after the crash was negative for alcohol, but was positive for THC. A glass pipe and marijuana residue were found in the vehicle driven by Hanson, according to court documents. 

Man who bear sprayed officers charged with felonies

JACKSON (WNE) — Alvaro Mancia, the 24-year-old man arrested after a Tuesday standoff with police who said he bear sprayed two officers, had a knife and barricaded himself in an East Jackson residence for a few hours, has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor.

His bail has been set at $50,000 — what Clay Kainer, chief deputy prosecutor for the criminal division of the Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, recommended.

“The state has concerns for community safety,” Kainer said during Mancia’s Thursday in-custody hearing. “This is a violent matter. There are three separate victims involved in this case.”

The stand-off lasted nearly three hours Tuesday.

Two of the felony counts with which Mancia was charged Thursday were for interfering with a police officer, specifically “intentionally and knowingly” causing or attempting to cause “bodily injury to a peace officer engaged in the lawful performance of his official duties.”

Those counts carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

One of the felony counts was for aggravated assault and battery, specifically threatening to “use a drawn deadly weapon on another unless reasonably necessary in defense ... or to prevent serious bodily injury to another.”

That charge carries the same sentence as the first two.

The misdemeanor count was for unlawful contact, which is when someone “touches another person in a rude, insolent or angry manner without intentionally using sufficient physical force to cause bodily injury.”

That charge carries a sentence of six months in jail, and a fine of up to $750.

Yellowstone worker burned near Old Faithful

JACKSON (WNE) — A 19-year-old working in Yellowstone National Park concessions suffered the first significant thermal-burn injuries of the year early Thursday morning near Old Faithful. 

Rangers provided initial care to the woman, from Rhode Island, for second- and third-degree burns to 5% of her body. Due to the injuries, she was taken by ambulance to West Yellowstone and then life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, according to a National Park Service news release. 

This incident is under investigation, and no further information was available on the woman’s condition since she was transported to a hospital outside of the park, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said.

The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there can be scalding water just below the surface.

“Everyone must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features,” Warthin cautioned. 

While not common, severe thermal burn injuries can and do happen in the busy park. In 2020, a three-year-old suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back, and an adult visitor (who illegally entered the park) fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos.


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