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Woman arrested after chaotic Glenrock crime spree pleads guilty

A woman arrested in June after a Glenrock crime spree where one of the suspects allegedly fired at authorities pleaded guilty to three felonies in federal court Thursday.

Santana Keener entered the pleas to three charges: conspiracy to distribute heroin or methamphetamine, discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting a carjacking. The firearm charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The remaining charges will be dismissed as part of the plea deal, court documents show. The details of the deal were not available Thursday as they were placed under seal.

Law enforcement arrested Keener and her boyfriend, Christopher Eads, in June after the couple fled an attempted traffic stop on Interstate 25. State troopers and agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation pursued the couple as they fled. During the pursuit, Eads allegedly fired at law enforcement vehicles.

The couple’s Toyota then exited the interstate at Glenrock and the pair abandoned the car, court documents allege. While police searched the area they received a report of an elderly woman who was bleeding from the head.

The woman said that a man entered her home through the back door, pushed her to the ground, attacked her and took her car keys. The woman, who is in her 80s, was later found to have a broken rib, a broken toe and a laceration to her scalp that required 18 staples to close, the documents state.

Law enforcement later found the woman’s car abandoned in a nearby drainage ditch. Officers also found Keener, who was hiding in a field about 400 yards away from the crashed vehicle.

Police arrested Keener, who later admitted to officers that she was in the car during the interstate chase and handed a gun to Eads, who then shot at pursuing officers. She also said she witnessed Eads attack the elderly woman and steal a law enforcement vehicle. She also said she and Eads had been traveling with a “large amount of controlled substances,” documents show.

Authorities later found 18 grams of heroin in Keener’s person during a cavity search after her arrest.

Agents with the Division of Criminal Investigation had been surveilling Eads because they believed he was a “major distributor” of methamphetamine and heroin in the Casper area, documents show.

Law enforcement arrested Eads hours later. The man allegedly drove to Casper, hid in a car shop and refused to exit when police arrived. After hours of negotiation, he was taken into custody.

Eads’ trial in federal court is scheduled to begin Monday in Casper. He faces nine felonies and a potential sentence of life imprisonment.

Keener’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the federal courthouse in Casper.

Public meeting on parking study to be held at Fox Theatre

Finding a place to park in downtown Casper isn’t as easy as it used to be, but a new study aims to fix this problem.

A public meeting about the parking study will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fox Theatre, according to a press release from the Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. City staff and representatives from Kimley-Horn engineering firm will discuss the study’s process and review potential ideas that may result from its conclusions. Those who attend are also encouraged to provide feedback.

Components of the parking study will include talking with those involved, collecting data, analyzing current and future demand and identifying financing.

The city’s last parking study was more than 17 years ago, the release states. The planning organization is coordinating the study — which was approved by City Council last June — with the help from the Casper Planning Division and the Casper Police Department.

Casper has grown significantly during the last two decades, and the city’s center in particular has expanded this year.

The David Street Station, a downtown public plaza, opened in August after years of planning. The station offers an outdoor stage and recreational spaces, and is expected to expand to include a splash pad, restrooms and an observation deck. Various new businesses have popped up in the surrounding area, including Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana, Urban Bottle and the Gaslight Social bar.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune  

Cars travel and park along Center Street near the Wonder Bar, second building from left, in June in downtown Casper. The bar’s new owners proposed removing city-owned public parking spaces in front of the building to create an outdoor seating area, but the plan met resistance from the City Council.

Courtesy of the Converse County Sheriff's Office 


Wyoming health department says flu activity increasing in state

Health officials have seen an uptick in people becoming sick from influenza in Wyoming, particularly in the southwestern part of the state.

“Our reports have been showing increasing levels of activity across the state in recent weeks,” Reggie McClinton, the epidemiologist for the state Department of Health, said in a press release.

The department doesn’t have a reliable count on the number of flu cases seen thus far this year, said spokeswoman Kim Deti. It’s too early to tell how this flu season so far compares to past years. There were 15 flu-related deaths during the 2016-2017 flu season, she said.

The flu season typically begins in October and continues into May. The peak, Deti said, is typically in the heart of winter.

The flu is a viral, contagious, respiratory illness that causes fever, tiredness, sore throat, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, and runny and stuffy noses.

McClinton said in the release that reports show this year’s flu vaccine “is a good match for the flu strains circulating in Wyoming and across the country.”

It’s not too late to receive a flu shot, according to the release. The department recommends an annual vaccine for “nearly everyone over the age of six months.”

The vaccine takes about two weeks to begin protecting people from the flu, so it’s still possible to become sick in the immediate aftermath of receiving the shot.

In addition to obtaining a shot, people can prevent the contraction and spread of the flu by covering noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing; washing hands; and staying home when feeling ill.