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
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.
Original Violation(s): 1)31-5-606 a SOLICIT ON STREETS & HWYS
[Originally published by Digihitch.com]
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