NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, October 7, 2019


Campbell County computer outage nearly repaired

GILLETTE (WNE) — About 98 percent to 99 percent of the computer systems at Campbell County Health were expected to be back online Friday, two weeks after a ransomware attack at the hospital left it without its 1,500 computers.

Campbell County Health officials expressed their appreciation for the work staff, state and federal agencies have done and continue to do in tackling the attack.

“In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, our cyber security response team and everything else, we are safe, we are protected,” CCH IT Director Matt Sabus said at the hospital board’s fall retreat Thursday.

“I just want to applaud our team,” CEO Andy Fitzgerald said. “The only good thing to come out of this is that they just keep plugging away at it.

“We’re not back to normal, but it’s much better than where we were a week ago.”

On Wednesday night, more than 60 employees showed up with only 40 minutes of notice to come and work on the systems. They were divided into teams and were able to clean up close to 500 computer systems in under two hours.

On Sept. 20, the hospital was the victim of a ransomware attack that knocked out over 1,500 computers and servers.

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Man heads to third sexual assault trial

LARAMIE (WNE) — Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent will re-prosecute Travis Bogard, whose first-degree sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Wyoming Supreme Court in September.

If the case goes to trial, it will be the third trial for Bogard, who was sentenced to 5 to 10 years imprisonment after a trial in 2017 in Albany County’s district court. A hung jury in his first trial led to a mistrial.

Trent told the Laramie Boomerang she decided to prosecute Bogard after consulting with the case’s victim, who Trent said is amenable to cooperating with a third prosecution.

In ordering a new trial on a 4-1 decision, the Supreme Court justices decided that “prosecutorial misconduct” committed by the Albany County Attorney’s Office deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

The high court’s decision said Trent’s former deputy, Cody Jerabek, repeatedly made characterizations of the crime that were not supported by evidence.

Shortly after the supreme court overturned the conviction, Bogard was released on bond from the Wyoming Honor Farm, the state’s prison farm in Riverton.

Bogard was accused of raping a woman in the Ranger Bar’s bathroom in 2016. Before alleged rape, the two had been publicly kissing consensually, and Bogard claimed he ended the sexual encounter as soon as he realized consent had been withdrawn.

At sentencing, the case’s victim said the rape led to her dropping out from the University of Wyoming.

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Cub of celebrated Grand Teton park grizzly moved

JACKSON (WNE) — A young female grizzly bear that likely shares the bloodlines of a celebrated Grand Teton National Park sow is now roaming clear across the ecosystem near Beartooth Pass.

Pending the results of in-the-works genetic testing, it’s impossible to say with certainly whether the subadult 2 1/2-year-old animal that was relocated as a precaution Monday is one of the two cubs grizzly 399 cast away earlier this summer.

But based on the animal’s age and its whereabouts when it was trapped and collared for research earlier this year, Wyoming Game and Fish Department carnivore chief Dan Thompson said that there’s a “high likelihood” the young grizzly is in fact the offspring of a bear that’s so famous she has her own social media channels and a book in her name.

Before being live-trapped and driven to the Shoshone National Forest’s Fox Creek drainage, the subadult female had frequented private land between Teton Park’s south boundary and the Gros Ventre River for “at least a few weeks,” Thompson said. The animal had no history of conflict but was habituated, had shown signs of having received a human “food reward” and, recently, was sticking tight to private land.

Grizzly 399, now 23 years old, gained fame for having raised at least four litters of cubs well within view of the roads in Teton Park. Her cubs, which have also gained a following, have been moved before by the state agency when they departed the park, and at times that has ignited great controversy.

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Alcohol involved in fatal collision with bus

RIVERTON (WNE) — The man who died last month after driving a vehicle into the back of a school bus south of Riverton was intoxicated at the time, a report from the Fremont County Coroner states. 

Merlin G. Black, 44, died at about 9:15 p.m. Sept. 10 of blunt force trauma and internal injuries suffered in the accident, which took place less than an hour earlier at the traffic light at the intersection of Wyoming Highway 789 at Rendezvous Road. 

His blood-alcohol content was .357, according to the coroner’s report.

No one else was seriously injured in the crash, but there were students on the bus, eight of whom suffered minor injuries, as did their driver, according to reports; all were treated and released from local hospitals that evening. 

Black also was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Travis Hauser said the southbound school bus, which was carrying the Lander Middle School football team home from a game in Worland, was stopped at the light when the Ford Escape that Black was driving “smashed right into the back of them.” 

“There was no sign of braking or trying to swerve out of the way or anything,” Hauser said in previous reports. “He just ran right into the back of them.” 

He noted that investigators found open containers of alcohol on the driver’s side floorboard of Black’s vehicle. 

“We do think alcohol was involved,” Hauser said, adding that speed may have been a contributing factor as well. 

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Gillette man arrested on attempted murder charge

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette man arrested on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder late Thursday morning in Casper has been transferred to the Campbell County jail.

Joseph Cruzen, 29, was arrested in Casper at about 11:30 a.m. on a warrant for attempted second-degree murder and kidnapping, said Gillette Police Lt. Brent Wasson.

Cruzen’s ex-wife, 31, called the Gillette Police Department at about 2 a.m. Thursday, saying Cruzen had assaulted her and stabbed her in the neck.

Police found the woman in the 600 block of South Garner Lake Road. She was taken to the emergency room, where she was treated and later released.

Cruzen had left by the time officers arrived, but he was arrested in Casper about nine hours later and taken to the Natrona County Detention Center, Wasson said.

The detention center in Gillette confirmed Saturday morning that he was transported back to Campbell County on Friday afternoon. An arraignment for Cruzen is expected to be scheduled Monday.

In November 2018, Cruzen was given a deferred sentence for strangulation of a household member and placed on five years of supervised probation after a June 2018 incident. He was accused of pushing his now-ex-wife to the floor, injuring her elbow and then getting on top of her and strangling her.

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