District court roundup: Woman who led Highway Patrol on high-speed chase sentenced to time served

May 1—CHEYENNE — A woman who led Wyoming Highway Patrol in a pursuit on Interstate 80 that ended in her colliding with two patrol vehicles and injuring two troopers was sentenced Thursday morning in Laramie County District Court.

Nicole Anne Montano received a sentence of time served, or credit for the 469 days she served awaiting disposition, from Laramie Country District Judge Catherine Rogers. Montano previously pleaded no contest to felony aggravated assault and battery (bodily injury with a weapon) as part of a plea agreement.

An additional charge of felony aggravated assault and battery (bodily injury with a weapon), two counts of misdemeanor interference with a peace officer (resisting), and the misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, eluding and speeding were dismissed.

At 9:53 a.m. April 2, 2019, a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was dispatched to assist the Albany County Sheriff's Office in pursuing a vehicle after an attempted traffic stop for a registration violation. The trooper observed the vehicle, an Acura sedan, at 10:02 a.m. traveling east on Interstate 80 at about 100 mph in a 75 mph zone, according to court documents.

The trooper attempted to pull over the Acura, but the vehicle failed to yield and sped up to 137 mph, weaving through traffic and following too closely behind other vehicles. Other troopers set up spike strips at three different mile markers, according to court documents. At 10:10 a.m., the Acura hit one of the spike strips and swerved into the grass, but the driver, Montano, regained control and drove back toward the eastbound lanes of I-80.

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A Highway Patrol lieutenant positioned his patrol vehicle to block the Acura from reentering the interstate. The Acura drove into the side of the patrol vehicle, according to court documents. A trooper then drove toward the rear of the Acura to prevent it from backing up onto the interstate, but the Acura quickly backed up and struck the trooper's vehicle. The lieutenant and trooper exited their vehicles and took Montano and a passenger into custody.

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Montano initially gave troopers the wrong name and complained of severe back pain. She said her passenger had encouraged her to elude law enforcement because there was a warrant for his arrest, according to court documents. An investigation later found that the pair had worked together to elude law enforcement, and they had stolen electronics and other merchandise before the pursuit.

After the crash, the lieutenant and trooper began experiencing back, shoulder and leg pain, and were examined at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. Both patrol vehicles were damaged, with the cost exceeding $1,000, according to court documents.

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Also heard Thursday in district court:

William Thomas Cross was sentenced to three years of supervised probation for felony burglary. He must also pay $3,049.50 in restitution.

Though Cross previously pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea agreement, Judge Rogers agreed to give him first-offender treatment, deferring his conviction if he successfully completes probation.

On Aug. 26, 2019, a Cheyenne Police officer responded to a report of a prior burglary at a residence in the 7000 block of Hawthorne Drive.

The complainant said he'd come home to find his refrigerator open and an open beer sitting on his workbench, according to court documents. A window had also been broken.

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The following day, officers responded to the 800 block of Vandehei Avenue. The complainant had chased down a man he'd found in his garage, identified as Cross.

DNA was collected from the beer bottle at the complainant's home, according to court documents. Cross later admitted to entering the home and drinking the beer.

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Lloyde Curtis Spaulding pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana and misdemeanor theft as part of a plea agreement.

If a judge follows the agreement at sentencing, additional misdemeanor charges of possession of heroin, child abandonment, interference with a peace officer (resisting) and following too close will be dismissed.

The state has agreed to cap its sentencing argument to three years of supervised probation on one count, with a suspended sentence of two to four years in prison, plus an additional suspended sentence of six months in prison on a second count, which would be served concurrently with the other prison sentence.

Further details were not available, as the probable cause affidavit in the case was filed confidentially.

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Heard Monday in district court:

Kirk McKay Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child abuse with physical injury, misdemeanor criminal trespassing and misdemeanor simple battery as part of a plea agreement.

The state has agreed to cap its sentencing argument to three to five years of incarceration, which would run consecutively to a previously imposed one-year prison sentence in a circuit court case.

Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe scheduled Miller's sentencing for Aug. 2.

On the evening of Jan. 13, a Cheyenne Police officer responded to a residence for a domestic disturbance. Miller had forced his way into his estranged wife's residence, punching, choking, scratching and biting two of his minor children in the process, according to court documents. Miller had never lived in the residence and did not have permission to be there.

In a previous incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, a Cheyenne Police officer responded to a report of child abuse. Miller had slapped, punched and kicked one of his minor children and spat in her face, according to court documents.

Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.

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