Man pleads guilty to battery resulting in injury to a minor
PINEDALE (WNE) – Certified physician assistant (PA-C) Jason Lee Ray changed his plea in Sublette County Circuit Court Monday from “not guilty” to “guilty” of battery resulting in bodily injury to a minor.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Curt Haws told Ray he is “a valued and valuable member of the community, but it appears (he has) an issue he needs to address” before stating he was pleased to see the terms of the plea deal including Ray agreeing to undergo an anger management evaluation.
Ray was sentenced to six months unsupervised probation and ordered to pay restitution to the minor victim, identified only by his initials R.H., for his medical expenses and damage done to his pickup.
According to court documents, Ray was traveling on the upper boat dock/ campground road hauling his boat after spending the day on Fremont Lake. He said he was driving slowly because of the potholes in the road when he was passed in the left lane by a 2001 white Dodge 1500 pickup truck in what Ray described as “an unsafe manner” and “at a high rate of speed.”
The juvenile driver of the pickup told law enforcement he estimated he passed Ray at 30 mph while driving in third gear.
According to court records, Ray told the investigator that when the pickup stopped at an intersection, he pulled in behind R.H., honked his horn and then approached the driver to confront him about his unsafe driving behavior.
Ray told the deputy that the juvenile began to swing at him through the driver’s window; the alleged victim and two witnesses told officers that Ray ripped off the teen’s shirt and struck him twice in the face.
The teen told law enforcement that Ray struck him with a closed fist on his left chin and then again as his friend pulled up behind them. RH told the deputy that he “didn’t touch him (Jason Ray).”
According to court records, as Ray tried to remove R.H. from the vehicle, the teen’s foot came off the clutch, causing the 2001 Dodge to roll backward into Ray’s F250.
Gillette woman sentenced for her role in 2019 mail thefts
GILLETTE (WNE) – A Gillette woman was recently sentenced for her role in a rash of mail thefts in the spring of 2019.
At the end of July, Donae Larae Chavez, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl to 28 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, followed by five years of supervised release. Chavez also was ordered to pay $9,971.29 in restitution.
Chavez and Tad Mathill had been charged in July 2019 after they were linked to the theft of driver’s licenses and credit cards, with Mathill working as “the ringleader” in a series of mail thefts, according to court documents.
Local charges were dropped after they were charged federally for the crimes.
In September 2020, Mathill was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and possession of stolen mail.
The Sheriff’s Office started getting a series of complaints in April 2019 about checks and driver’s licenses stolen from the mail and used fraudulently.
In one case, two checks were stolen from a woman and were cashed for a total of $484.50 written to two people the woman didn’t know. But those two people told investigators that they were waiting for their new driver’s licenses to arrive in the mail. One said that while the Wyoming Department of Transportation had said it was mailed earlier in the month, he hadn’t received it.
Video surveillance showed that their driver’s licenses were used to cash the checks, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
In another case, a woman reported that she had requested a new credit card and although she hadn’t received it, Bank of America had alerted her to potential fraudulent use of the card.
Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny estimated there were more than 100 victims in the mail theft case.
Suicide prevention coalition launches local window campaign
GILLETTE (WNE) – A number of local businesses have partnered with the Campbell County Suicide Prevention Coalition for its local campaign to raise awareness for suicide prevention resources and information.
The push for awareness includes placing on the outside of storefronts two window stickers that share information on national and local hotlines and resources.
The 15 suicides in Campbell County throughout July have already tied the county’s highest one-year tally on record, said Ashley McRae, prevention specialist.
About 20 local businesses and agencies have agreed to place the window stickers.
“It started with us wanting to do them at the bar because of how many suicides are related to substance use, but so many other businesses asked for it, so we decided to do it everywhere,” McRae said.
The coalition is also giving a similar campaign, targeted toward bars and liquor stores, a trial run. So far, two local bars and liquor stores have agreed to put suicide prevention stickers on packaging for alcohol, McRae said.
The campaign materials include a QR code, in addition to phone numbers and online access to resources.
The suicide hotline can be reached by calling or texting 988. The number connects callers to trained counselors who will listen, provide support and connect the caller with resources if needed.
The previous suicide hotline number, 1-800-273-8255, still works and will connect callers with help.
Wyomingites can also text “WYO” to 741-741.