State Briefs

Would-be bank robbers leave some of their own money at bank

LYMAN (WNE) — Law enforcement are looking for two men after an alleged botched theft at the Wells Fargo Bank in Lyman, which left the suspects with less money than when they entered the bank. A press release posted on the Lyman Police Department’s Facebook page described the suspects and the incident on Friday, Jan. 26, which the post referred to as a “bunco” type theft.

“One of the male subjects approached a teller while the other man stood behind watching,” according to the release. “The first subject provided the teller with $4,200 in hundred-dollar bills, asking the teller to change them for fifty-dollar bills. Once the teller gave him the $4,200 in fifty-dollar bills, the subject “palmed” approximately half of the stack.”

The man immediately gave a portion of the money back to the teller, asking to change $4,200 into pesos. When the teller told the man he couldn’t exchange it for pesos, the man asked for the full $4,200 back, even though when the teller returned the fifties they only added up to $1,800.

“The alert bank personnel observed this sleight of hand attempt,” according to the press release.

The assistant manager saw what was happening and asked the man for ID, at which point he and his partner ran out the door. The assistant manager called 911, but could not provide a vehicle description nor a direction of travel.

However, the would-be thieves left behind some valuables — $1,800 worth of fifty-dollar bills.

“In their hasty departure,” according to the press release, “the suspects left without their original $4,200 in hundred-dollar bills and only managed to escape with $2,400 of fifty-dollar bills, leaving the bank with an $1,800 overage…”

Husband sues UPS for wife’s death in crash

CHEYENNE (WNE) – The husband of a 65-year-old woman killed in a crash west of Cheyenne last year is suing the United Parcel Service and the driver of the truck that killed her.

In a complaint filed last week in federal court, attorneys for James Berrigan argue that the wrongful death of his wife, JoelAnne Berrigan, caused irreparable harm to him and several family members.

The complaint argues that the negligence of the UPS semitrailer combination driver Michael Shedd caused the 65-year-old’s death and asks for “damages far (exceeding) $75,000.”

Shedd was charged shortly after the crash with vehicular homicide, but that charge was later dismissed.

JoelAnne Berrigan’s death happened on April 21 on Interstate 80 just west of Cheyenne.

At the time of the accident, conditions on the interstate were wet to slick and a fog advisory had just been issued by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

At the time, Jim Berrigan was driving a Penske moving truck west on the interstate. His wife JoelAnne Berrigan was following him.

At about 2:35 p.m., Shedd’s semitrailer came up behind JoelAnne Berrigan “traveling at a rate that far exceeded Mr. Shedd’s ability to see and control his vehicle under the existing conditions,” the complaint states.

A vehicle in front of Jim Berrigan slowed down, so Jim Berrigan braked, and so did JoelAnne Berrigan.

Shedd, however, did not.

He overtook the Honda CR-V that JoelAnne Berrigan was driving but didn’t change lanes “instead crashing into the rear and driving on top of a portion of the back of Ms. Berrigan’s Honda CR-V,” the complaint states.

The impact of Shedd’s semitrailer caused her to run into the back of her husband’s rental truck.

Jim Berrigan was able to pull into the right lane, but the UPS truck pushed JoelAnne Berrigan’s CR-V into the left lane and down into the median, where the semitrailer came to rest on top of the Honda, according to the complaint.

Bebout: Proposed state air plan still needs much work

RIVERTON (WNE) — Senate President Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, said he supports the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s work on a long-term, statewide air service plan.

But, he said, “to give the Aeronautics Commission a $13 million blank check is not the way to do it.”

In 2017, WYDOT and legislators proposed forming a new program that would task the state agency, rather than airports themselves, with contracting directly with airlines.

Though a legislative committee originally killed the proposal in October, Wyoming Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, independently has introduced a new bill in the Legislature to advance the “capacity purchase agreements” plan.

By forging multi-airport agreements with airlines, WYDOT’s Aeronautics Division administrator Amy Surdam said Wyoming could expect to spend $15 million over 10 years to secure air service for four airports, in Riverton, Sheridan, Rock Springs and Gillette.

The proposal is touted as a stabilizer for Wyoming’s air market while saving money for local governments.

While the Riverton Airport Board has expressed some interest in the plan, vice chairman Mick Pryor said last month that he worried the airports could lose some “qualitative benefits” that arise from being separate from one another.

Unless the Aeronautics Division could ensure an airline would provide Riverton Regional Airport with ideal gate times, Pryor said he worried that airports could become “victims of efficiency.”

Bebout told county officials last week the air service plan needs more work before the Legislature acts on it through Von Flatern’s bill.