(Lander, Wyo.) – A 19-year-old Riverton woman has been charged with Aggravated Assault and Battery following a mid-April shoplifting incident in Lander.
Charging documents allege that Josephine Wallingbull struck a man in the Safeway parking lot after loading her car with groceries that she didn’t purchase. Wallingbull’s case has been bound over to Wyoming’s Ninth District Court. A date for an arraignment, where Wallingbull will enter a plea, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on July 9.
She has been charged with Aggravated Assault and Battery, Duty to Stop Vehicle where Accident Involves Death or Personal Injuries and Shoplifting. The assault charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines. The Duty to Stop charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. The Shoplifting charge carries penalties of six months in prison and/or $750 in fines.
The affidavit in the case, written by Lander Police’s Anthony Barry and filed on April 23, lays out the events behind the charge.
“On or about April 14, 2013, Officer Troy Trehearne was dispatched to 1165 Main Street (Safeway Store, Inc.) for the report of a shoplifter,” states the affidavit. “Dispatch advised Officer Trehearne that a female subject had taken a whole cart of groceries. Dispatch further advised Officer Trehearne that the subjects had taken off in a grey F150 pickup …. Officer Trehearne was also advised that the subject had struck a pedestrian in the parking lot and headed toward Fort Washakie at a high rate of speed.”
The affidavit states that when Trehearne arrived at the scene he observed a man lying on the ground surrounded by a group of people. EMS had also arrived. Witnesses reportedly told him there were two women and three children in the vehicle and “several witnesses had observed the grey F150 strike (Dana Holden).”
Trehearne later interviewed Holden at his residence and said he had been asked to keep an eye two women suspect of shoplifting. “He stated he observed the two females begin to walk out without paying for the items tey had in their cart,” states the affidavit. “Holden and the store manager (Ann Mitchell) stopped them at the door. One of the females stopped while the other went on to the truck. The other female then grabbed the two kids from the cart and walked to the truck at a fast pace. Holden said he followed them to the truck and stood behind the truck in an effort to keep them there. He said the driver then started to back up. He observed taillights and thought the driver put the vehicle into park. Holden said he then started to walk up to the driver’s window and the driver hit the gas. Holden tried to jump out of the way but was not fast enough. All Holden remembers then is the front bumper hitting him and knocking him to the ground. After that he just remembers EMS loading him into the ambulance.”
The affidavit states a BIA officer stopped the suspect vehicle on Plunkett Road and Wallingbull was in the driver seat. After questioning she reportedly admitted to being at Safeway.
“Josephine Wallingbull denied striking the victim with her vehicle,” continues to affidavit. “Rather Josephine Wallingbull stated the victim hit her vehicle.”