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Plea deal in fatal wreck avoids trial for Ethete woman

Mar 29, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

An Ethete woman pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter March 19 for her role in a fatal crash on 17 Mile Road.

Michelle Crispin, 32, was the intoxicated driver during the rollover crash Jan. 2 on 17 Mile Road that resulted in the death of Mitchell James C'Hair Jr.

Crispin had been set for a jury trial to have begun March 26 in Cheyenne, but parties in the case reached a plea agreement March 14 in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming.

Terms of the plea agreement were not available in an online database of federal court records.

Her sentencing is set for May 30 in federal court in Cheyenne. She remains in jail during her prosecution.

Federal charge

A federal indictment by a grand jury dated Jan. 11 contained the single charge against Crispin, alleging she drove under the influence of alcohol during the crash that killed C'Hair.

The charge carries a maximum punishment of eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. She pleaded not guilty to the charge Jan. 19.

Arrest records filed in Wyoming's U.S. District Court in Cheyenne show her warrant issued Jan. 12, and FBI special agent Paul Swenson arrested her the next day at the Wind River Police Department in Fort Washakie.

The crash that killed the 27-year-old Ethete resident happened just before noon west of Arapahoe and the newly built bridge on 17 Mile Road. He died at the crash scene.

'Wanton disregard'

Around the time of the crash, FBI media coordinator Dave Joly in Denver reported that alcohol, but not speed, possibly contributed to the wreck.

Joly said the crash involved a single-cab truck with four occupants, three of whom suffered minor injuries.

The identities of the other occupants were not released at the time.

The indictment accuses Crispin of killing C'Hair "without malice but with wanton and reckless disregard for human life."

The charge also alleges she was under the influence and driving recklessly "while knowing of such circumstances as could reasonably have enabled her to foresee the peril to which her actions might subject others."

The fatal crash was the first one of the year in Fremont County.

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