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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
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April 26, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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April 26, 2012
 

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LOVELL iiti!l/, ' ! What's Inside ... Paxton to retire Page 2 Love//thinclads 46 PRs Page 7 Care Center celebrates 20 years Page 12 District music festival__ P age 13 LOVELL, WYOMING VOLUME 106, NUMBER 46 THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2012 75 Alleged reckless driving sends car over cliff BY PATTI CARPENTER According to Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Black- burn, multiple calls to 911 alerted authorities to an al- leged reckless driving inci- dent that resulted in a 2010 Camaro careening off a 50- foot cliff and landing in a riverbed below in the town of Byron. The incident oc- curred at 2:47 a.m. on Sat- urday. More than 30 search and rescue workers, fire- men and law enforcement officials were at the scene of the accident in a matter of minutes and were pre- pared to assist any parties involved in the accident. The first call to come in re- ported that a vehicle drove through a guardrail and over a cliff. The caller said he heard voices screaming. The driver, 31-year-old Kenneth Verran of Byron, left the scene of the accident and was arrested later that morning on charges of leav- ing the scene of an accident, reckless driving and reck- less endangerment. Accord- ing to Blackburn, a report has been sent to the county attorney and more charges may be pending, like failure to report an accident, inter- ference with peace officers and failure to administer aide to an injured party at the scene of an accident. Considering the mag- nitude of the crash, two passengers who were in the car, Travis Burke and Larry Foster, escaped with relatively minor injuries, said Blackburn. Foster was transported to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. "These kids started at one end of the street driving toward a 70 degree turn in the 2010 Camaro. It is esti- KER[ W]LSKE More than 30 search and rescue workers, firemen and law enforcement officials responded quickly to the scene of the accident that took place in Byron and were prepared to assist any parties involved early Saturday at 2:47 a.m. Shown above (l-r) Kyle McClure, Jim Minchow, Jason House and Dennis Woodward prepare to load injured Larry Foster onto a gurney in preparation for transportation to the hospital while family members observe. mated that they were doing about 100 miles per hour by the time they hit the curve in the road and went straight over the cliffwhere they pin-balled off of several trees before hitting the bot- tom of the cliff near the riv- er," said Blackburn. Blackburn added that numerous witnesses at the local bar reported that the three were very intoxicated when they left the bar min- utes before the accident. Also, reports from bystand- ers at the scene, who had seen the three just moments before they entered the ve- hicle, stated that they ap- peared to be very intoxicat- ed, he said. "Here's what the prob- lem was," explained Black- burn. "This was a very un- stable cliffwith a lot of river boulders and the search and rescue department, fire de- partment and sheriffs de- partment tied up a lot of re- sources looking for the driver and wondering if he was OK throughout the night. Addi- tionally, during the rescue, one of our search and res- cue members who had a he- met on, thank goodness, was hit in the head with a rock that dislodged from the cliff. So, a lot of people put them- selves at risk to help these people out." Deputies and other res- cuers spent several hours searching the scene for Ver- ran, who, as it turned out, left the scene of the accident and was found at his home in Byron at approximately 11 a.m. that day. It was ap- proximately 1 p.m. by the time authorities persuad- ed Verran to answer their knocks at his door. Blackburn expressed his gratitude to the Lovell Po- lice Department, the Search and Rescue Crew and the Lovell Volunteer Fire De- partment for their quick re- sponse to the incident. "I think too often we take these guys for grant- ed," said Blackburn. "These guys were out there immedi- ately, they risked their lives to search the river bottom, to try to find this guy, not knowing if this guy left in shock and was under a bush somewhere dying or what the case was. If you took the total number of the man hours, there were at least 100 involved in this search when all was said and done." According to Blackburn, due to the prolonged extrica- tion, it wasn't until the next day that authorities were able to pull the wrecked vehicle from the river bot- tom. He also noted that the search and rescue team set up a rope system to remove the injured passenger from the scene of the crash. "These people--the fir- men, the search and rescue guys and others--were down there with loose rock coming down on them," said Black- burn. "It was a fairly dan- gerous scene to be sure. It was nothing short of mirac- ulous that someone didn't get hurt worse in this acci- dent or at the scene of this accident. The fact that the Camaro literally played pin- ball going down through the trees slowed its fall and that probably helped prevent more injuries. There were literally objects impaled in the trees all along its path. "We understand that people make mistakes and do stupid things, but don't make it worse by leaving the scene of the accident and putting rescue workers and everyone else at risk like this. It is just unacceptable. Any legal problems that this subject may have been try- ing to avoid by leaving the scene may have been com- pounded by what he left be- hind." Verran made his ini- tial appearance in court on Tuesday and was released later that day on a $10,000 cash bond. KERI WILSKE The 2010 Camaro pictured above was driven off a cliff in Byron early Saturday morning in an incident that resulted in the arrest of the vehicle's driver, Kenneth Verran. Mesa Matthews accepted for student exchange program BY DAVID PECK A dream has come true for Lovell High School junior Mesa Matthews, who found out recently that she has been accepted for an internation- al exchange student program and will receive a $10,000 scholarship to participate. A young lady with an amazing worldview, Matthews will spend her senior year in Germany, studying through the ASSE Congress-Bunde- stag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Program. She will spend near- ly 11 months in Germany, leaving on July 29 and study- ing into late June of 2013. She doesn't yet know where she will live, or which family she will live with, but she's thrilled to be going to Eu- rope. The daughter of Bill and Mary Matthews of Lovell, Mesa heard about the pro- gram through LHS Counselor Tawnya Teter when she went to talk to Teter about the pos- sibilities of studying overseas for college. "I always wanted to be a foreign exchange student, but I didn't think it was possible," she said. Instead, she was sav- ing money to participate in the Wyoming Ambassadors of Mu- sic band in 2013. She plays the French horn in the LHS band. By the time she heard about the ASSE program, Matthews was more than up against the gun when it came to the application deadline. She quickly completed all of the necessary paperwork Mesa Matthews for the CBYX program, went through an online interview via Skype and crossed her fin- gers. "They stretched the dead- line," she noted, adding that she then waited for what seemed to be an eternity. In March she received the news she had been hoping for: she had been accepted for the program and the scholarship that will allow her to go, one of only a few dozen to be accepted nationwide and the only stu- dent accepted from Wyoming. "It was a whirlwind," she said. "They told me I was a fi- nalist four times, then finally said it's for sure." See MATTHEWS, page 3 PATrl CARPENTER Chad Carr purchases a box of candy from volunteer Kathy Brown at the Hyart Theatre in Lovell as Jessica Carr, the only paid employee at the theatre, organizes candy on the shelves. The Hyart is kept afloat with the help of more than 100 volunteers. National week of the volunteer Volunteers work tirelessly for community good BY PATTI CARPENTER Sometimes it's the little things that make our lives better, like pretty flowers around town or a reasonably priced movie. Other times it's the big stuffthat counts, like saving a life, a home or find- ing a lost child. In all of these cases, the end result is due to the tireless efforts by volunteers who do it for the sheer joy of enhanc- ing the quality of life for all. From the group of ladies at the hospital who run the gift shop and then donate all the money back to the hospital's care center, to the members of the search and rescue team, who are often called out of their beds at night to search for a lost or injured person, these are all volunteers who perform tasks with one goal in common-- to "give back" to the community. Dennis Woodward has been involved with the local search and rescue group since 1981. "It's a tremendous feeling of gratification that we get when we have a happy ending and that makes this work all worthwhile," said Woodward. According to Woodward, he See 'VOLUNTEERS' page 3