Monday, August 2, 2010

My First Time in Jail for Hitchhiking



This is an account of my being arrested and put in jail for a short time in Riverton, Wyoming [September 2009]. I had failed to pay a fine ($60.00) or appear in court for a hitchhiking violation.

A couple of days ago, I hitchhiked from Jackson to Riverton, Wyoming. My last ride to Riverton was with this lady who sold Avon products. We had a nice talk. She said that she wanted to take me out to eat, so we had a buffet at a Chinese restaurant in Riverton. After the restaurant, she drove me to the south side of town near an industrial area. I thanked her and took my backpack and walked down this foot path. After about two hundred yards, I veered off the foot path and walked across this open ground to this place overlooking the Wind River. I set up my tent and bedded down for the night (or so I thought). It was around 9 PM.

A short while later, I heard this car driving around maybe a hundred yards north of my tent. I looked out of my tent and saw this car drive very fast in and then out of this gravel driveway.

Maybe fifteen minutes later I heard this other car drive down the same road. I looked out and saw the car turn and shine its headlights on my tent. The car approached my campsite and I got out of the tent to see what was going on.

The car stopped and a man and woman in uniform walked towards me. They were with the Riverton Police. They told me they were looking for some kids that were trying to break into a car in a housing subdivision just north of where I was camped. They thought that the kids may have been from the reservation (Wind River Reservation--made up of Arapahoe and Shoshoni Tribes) just across the river.

They asked me what I was doing and I told them that I was hitchhiking and had camped out for the night. They told me that there are a lot of violent crimes on the reservation; there were twenty-eight murders so far this year--probably alcohol and meth-related. I told them that I had camped here earlier this summer and that I was planning on hitting the road the next morning.

The lady police officer asked what my name was and she ran a check on me through the police department; I also gave them my driver's license. We talked for a little while longer and then she said that I had a Bench Warrant for my arrest and that I needed to pay sixty dollars or else go to jail. It was from a hitchhiking ticket I got back in February of 2009: I had failed to pay the fine or appear in court.

I walked back to my tent and looked in my billfold and told them that I had fifty bucks. She said that they needed sixty. Looked like I was going to jail.

They let me put on my pants and shoes and I took a few valuables with me. I was patted down for any weapons. They had me stand with my hands behind my back as they put these handcuffs on my wrists. They led me back to the police car and had me sit in the back seat. The handcuffs were very tight and uncomfortable.

On the way to the police station, they asked me if I knew anyone in Riverton that I could contact to help pay the remaining ten bucks. I gave them a name of a friend who had picked me up hitchhiking a couple of months ago.

We pulled into the garage at the police station. They led me to a large room with a table and sink. They had me empty my pockets and take off my shoes and sweatshirt. Then they led me into this small adjoining room and locked the door behind me. This room had a concrete bench to sit or sleep on; it had a sink and a toilet. It was probably ten foot by ten foot. I sat there for at least half an hour.

Then someone unlocked the steel door and they told me to come out. They said that my friend had arrived with the ten bucks. I put my sweatshirt and shoes back on and walked to this other room where my friend and his son were waiting. I paid my fine and walked out a free man.

My friend drove me to my campsite where I broke down my tent and put all of my gear in his pickup. We drove to his house and he let me sleep in his camper that night. I was very grateful that he helped me out with the ten bucks and for a place to stay for the night.

The police were friendly, courteous and professional; I was in jail for a very short time; I have no complaints there. I asked the police how long it had been illegal to hitchhike in Wyoming; they didn't know. I would really like to know WHY it is illegal to hitchhike in Wyoming.

__________

Copy of Bench Warrant (Filed Mar 19 2009):

In The Circuit Court of The Ninth Judicial District
Fremont County, Wyoming

State of Wyoming, Plaintiff

VS.

Timothy M. Shey, Defendant

TO: ANY PEACE OFFICER IN THE STATE OF WYOMING: GREETINGS:

WHEREAS THE DEFENDANT, has done the following according to the Court record, more specifically set forth as follows:

Failure to Appear as ordered on 2/18/09

YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to arrest the above-named defendant and bring him/her forthwith before this court to be dealt with according to law.

Bond: $60.00 [ ] Cash-- Must be posted before release from Custody.

[ ] Bond may be forfeited in lieu of appearance. The defendant may appear before this Court at 1:30 pm on Wed following his or her release.

Dated 3/18/09

Original Violation(s): 1)31-5-606 a SOLICIT ON STREETS & HWYS

[Originally published by Digihitch.com]

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Why is Hitchhiking Illegal in Wyoming? 
Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch
Sitting in Jail in Broadus, Montana

3 comments:

  1. Nice story! Entertaining, I'm glad you were released and can continue updating your blog. :P It's very nice of your friend to help you, its a pleasant reminder that decent people exist, and that there are a lot of them. :)

    Strange that it's illegal to hitchhike in Wyoming, maybe there are a high number of kidnappings or other crimes related to it. Glad the good Lord was watching out for you! :)

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  2. I don't understand why hitchhiking is illegal in Wyoming. It is the most sparsely-populated state in the Union. I can see why it would be illegal to hitchhike on the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles because it is so busy with traffic.

    The lesson that I learned is to NOT stick your thumb out when a Highway Patrol or a Sheriff drives by--that's how I got my ticket.

    One time I got a ride from Evanston to Casper, Wyoming. This guy told me that they call I-80 Death Highway because they find so many dead bodies just off the highway. I am not sure if that is true or not.

    I know that the Lord protects me and that I am in His will while I am on the road. Some people tell me that I shouldn't be hitchhiking because I might get robbed or killed. I tell them about Psalm 91--the psalm of protection. In World War I this British Regiment was in the front lines for four years. They recited Psalm 91 every day. In four years, they suffered not one single battle casualty. Praise the Lord!

    The Lord is much more powerful than bullets--for those who believe in Him. But if it is my time to die, that's fine with me--I'm going home!

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  3. I made a correction in this story. My being put in jail happened in September of 2009.

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