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Colyer v. State

March 25, 2009

DAVID R. COLYER, APPELLANT (PETITIONER),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE (RESPONDENT).



Appeal from the District Court of Fremont County, The Honorable Norman E. Young, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Voigt, Chief Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] The appellant's driver's license was suspended because he refused to submit to a chemical test of his blood alcohol content after a traffic stop. That suspension was affirmed after a contested case hearing and again after a petition for review was filed in the district court. The focal issue is whether the arrest was unlawful, which, if so, would negate the appellant's statutorily implied consent to chemical testing, and would require reversal of the driver's license suspension. We affirm, although not precisely on the basis upon which the hearing examiner and district court determinations rested.

ISSUE

[¶2] The appellant presents the following issue in this appeal:

Whether Wyoming Statutes Section 7-2-106 [(LexisNexis 2007)] authorizes a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer to detain and/or arrest a non-Indian person on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

[¶3] The State phrases the issue somewhat differently:

[Whether] the district court correctly affirm[ed] the hearing officer's finding that [the] Bureau of Indian Affairs officer [] had authority to detain appellant on the Wind River Indian Reservation once he determined that appellant was not Native American, until Fremont County Sheriff's deputies arrived to take control of the scene?

[¶4] We will state what we consider to be the dispositive issue as follows: Whether the appellant's detention by a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer on the Wind River Indian Reservation rendered unlawful the otherwise lawful arrest of the appellant by a Fremont County deputy sheriff?

FACTS

[¶5] The facts in this case are not contested. We will set forth those facts of which the deputy sheriff was aware at the time he arrested the appellant for drunk driving:

1. Law enforcement officers in Fremont County received a REDDI (Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately) report at approximately 1:08 a.m., on March 2, 2006. The initial report and pre-arrest follow-up investigation indicated that a 1992 white Cadillac coupe bearing license plate number 10-34CC had driven into a pole and trash can at a convenience store in Riverton. Because the vehicle was registered to a person who resided in nearby Lander, a Fremont County deputy sheriff drove southward out of Riverton toward Lander on U.S. 789 in an attempt to intercept the vehicle.

2. A Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) officer radioed that he had located the vehicle headed westward on 17 Mile Road, in an area that is within the Wind River Indian Reservation. The B.I.A officer advised that "the vehicle was all over the road and had left the road way on the shoulder and then drove back onto the roadway."

3. As the deputy sheriff drove toward the location described by the B.I.A. officer, he heard another B.I.A. officer radio that he had just seen the vehicle and was turning around to catch up with it. The second B.I.A. officer stated that the vehicle had accelerated to about 75 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone, and was driving "all over the road." He also, before the arrest, told the deputy sheriff that the driver of the vehicle had not dimmed his headlights as he approached, and that he had seen the vehicle drift across the fog line on the highway.

4. The second B.I.A. officer stopped the vehicle and detained its driver, the appellant, until the deputy sheriff arrived. The appellant admitted to the ...


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