(Riverton, WY) — Judge Wesley Roberts, Fremont County 9th Circuit Court, has received the Lifesaver Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in honor of his service in the Riverton community.
Since 2013, 120 people have died on Fremont County roads and 70 of these deaths were alcohol- and/or drug-related. These deaths place Fremont County at the top of traffic deaths in Wyoming, regardless of population.
Judge Roberts is considered a safety leader in his field, with a demonstrated ability to bring people from various backgrounds together to solve a safety issue. He has been a member of the Wyoming Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving for many years, as well as the County’s Substance Abuse Prevention Program and the newly formed Fremont County DUI Task Force.
His involvement has had a tangible impact on many impaired-driving issues, and he is a strong believer in treatment courts, and especially the 24/7 program, which has been highly successful in Riverton. The 24/7 program was temporarily discontinued in 2020, due to the pandemic, and Judge Roberts was instrumental in bringing it back in early 2021. The program has about 90 participants and is growing.
As part of his unique sentencing procedure, Judge Roberts requires defendants to research highway deaths in Fremont County and report on the alcohol levels of the suspects and victims involved. This has resulted in increased situational awareness for all people involved — prosecutors, public defenders, but especially the defendants. Many defendants have commented that this project has had a significant, life-changing impact on them.
The 24/7 Sobriety Program is a court-based management program originally designed for repeat DUI offenders. The Program serves as an alternative to incarceration, allowing offenders to remain in the community with their family and friends, while maintaining employment.
Driven by the death of eight University of Wyoming student-athletes because of a drunk driver, Governor Matt Mead created the Council on Impaired Driving in 2011 with three primary responsibilities — lead Wyoming’s efforts to reduce drug- and alcohol-involved crashes through research, discussion, and planning; identify priority issues and effective prevention strategies related to impaired driving; and develop plans for implementing those strategies. The Council facilitates research, discussion, and planning to reduce both alcohol and drug impaired driving in Wyoming.