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Teen charged in fatal 2010 crash

A Powell teen has been charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl last summer.

Jack Farwell, 18, turned himself in on a warrant on Friday on the misdemeanor charge. At his arraignment in Park County’s Circuit Court in Cody on Monday, Farwell pleaded not guilty. He was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance/signature bond.

The charge alleges that Farwell drove the vehicle in a criminally negligent way on June 26, 2010, leading to the death of EmiLee Bapst of Powell.

An affidavit of probable cause filed in the case alleges Farwell was driving 10 miles over the speed limit at the time of the crash.

If found guilty of vehicular homicide, Farwell would face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

An affidavit from Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Walker filed in the case alleges Farwell was driving northbound on Wyo. 295 about four miles north of Powell. At that point, the document says, Farwell crossed the centerline, corrected to the left, then overcorrected to the right.

That caused the 2000 Ford Taurus to spin about 230 degrees counterclockwise and enter a sideways slide.

The car then collided with a large tree off the road, striking the tree at about the center of the car’s passenger side.

“The vehicle wrapped itself around the tree and then rotated approximately 180 degrees clockwise with the tree acting as an axle on a wheel,” Walker wrote.

A reconstruction of the crash by a private firm, Jackson Hole Scientific Investigations, Inc., found that Farwell had been driving approximately 75 miles per hour — 10 miles over the speed limit — at the time of the crash, the affidavit says.

Bapst, who like all four of the vehicle’s occupants was not wearing a seat belt, was partially ejected and died at the scene.

The two other teens in the vehicle — Erik Rodriguez and Luke Sherley — were seriously injured and were airlifted to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings for treatment.

The crash left Rodriguez in a wheelchair.

Deputy Park County Attorney Tim Blatt said much of the nearly nine-month gap between the crash and the filing of the charge came as investigators waited for final reports on the crash.

Vehicular homicide is a felony when the driver is alleged to have been driving drunk or recklessly. No such allegations are being made in the case against Farwell, making the charge a misdemeanor.

A trial has been scheduled for June 16.

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13 comments

  • posted by sister

    April 02, 2011 3:06 pm

    There was no driving under ther influence charges cause the doctor on duty felt it was not nessesary to do a toxicology on any of te kids in the car. The only oe that had one for sure was EmiLee. There re so many of you that donmt know and have no idea about anything in this case. Yes they should have been wearin their seat bealts but like it has ben said we all make that decision. People only know what they read in the paper they were not around to see or hear eveything that had happen. This is going to haunt allof us for the rest of our lives. Some people should really hear everything before opening their mouths.

  • posted by Dee Giles

    April 02, 2011 2:00 am

    As EmiLees' mom I believe I have the right to speak for my daughter, since she can no longer speak for herself. First and foremost, I want to clarify one issue that has been repeatedly mentioned in these letters. It WAS NOT proven that drugs or other intoxicating substances were not a cause of this crash. The only tox screen that was performed on any off the occupants in that car was taken from my daughter, by the coroner. Hers was negative for any intoxicating substances. We will never know what the drivers tox screen would have shown, because according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol there was no tox screen drawn on the driver.
    I have no doubt that this crash was accidental and the driver didn't mean to kill or permanently injure anyone. I also understand the many statements of "We were all young and stupid once". However, none of that changes the fact that by driving 10mph over the speed limit the law was broken, and as a result my daughter was killed. I also understand that EmiLee made the choice to now wear her seat belt. She new better than that. However, I have a hard time believing that that should be an offense punishable by death or permanents paralysis as in Eriks' case. However the driver of a vehicle by law assumes the responsibility of his passengers actions and is supposed to make sure he is, as the driver, required to make sure the law is followed while he is operating a vehicle. If a person can not drive in a safe manner, at a safe speed while making sure all traffic laws are being followed while he is the operator of the vehicle, then there should be consequences if and when that driver seriously injures or kills someone as a result or his actions. It's that simple.
    As a mom I can only imagine how difficult this has been for the family of the driver. I am truly sorry for their pain and I don't hold them responsible for the action of their family member. However, I do not feel sorry for the driver. It doesn't matter that he didn't mean to crash or that he was "acting like a crazy teenager like we all did at that age." He has the rest of his life to live, with the possibility of very little punishment as far as the law is concerned. EmiLee doesn't get the chance to have a life and Eriks life has been made forever difficult and painful. Not to mention those of us who loved and raised them both and had a hole ripped out of our hearts that day. That doesn't seem like a fair trade to me.
    Please to those of you who comment here based on rumors, think before you post what are very hurtful and disrespectful things about our children when they do not have the opportunity to defend themselves, unlike the driver. And please don't blame their families for the prosecution of the driver by the State of Wyoming. We did not bring these charges against him. The District Attorney did because he believes that had the law been obeyed by the driver, the crash would not have occurred. And please, if you don't have the courtesy or courage to sign your letter, keep your opinions to yourself.
    Thank you.

  • posted by friend

    April 01, 2011 3:04 am

    Do any of you get the that this was an ACCIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your all dumb if you think he did this on purpose grow up!!!!!!!!! Oh his punishment isnt hard enough!!! Oh god its like a fine for poaching!!!!! What if you were the driver and your best friend got killed how the heck would you feel???!!! everyones coming down on this young man for a mistake in which he was only trying to gain back controll of the car and not get in an accident. Some people are so ignorant and conceeded talk to the people involed in the accident see how they feel!!! They dont blame him!!!

  • posted by Sam

    March 25, 2011 8:28 am

    A primary legal issue here is that no drugs/alcohol contributed to the tragedy. Ten miles over the speed limit can be shown to be not excessive or reckless. At the legal speed limit would the outcome have been different? And the use of seatbelts?

    What message, if any, will be made to insure that this tragedy isn't repeated..or is it just a tragic event with shared blame.

  • posted by RJ

    March 24, 2011 11:41 am

    We lost our son 10 years ago in a tragic accident that killed two young men. Both passengers died and the driver lived. Our lives were turned upside down by this horrible accident and has never been the same. Our heads wanted to blame the driver, but our hearts knew that any one of those boys could have been driving and that he too was going to have to live with this the rest of his life. We chose love and understanding over hate and anger and I know our son would have been proud of us.

  • posted by KLee Baker

    March 23, 2011 2:06 am

    And each time we speed or go over the speed limit, we are endangering ourselves as well as the others on the road. Yes, we all make mistakes and yes, we are all human. But there was a lot that was left unclear and that was never fully proven in this case.
    Also yes, we were crazy and young once as well. We have all done stupid things. Had to learn from our mistakes. I hope that does learn from this.
    Once you're in the driver's seat, you are responsible for those with you and you do what you can to keep them safe.
    It was their choice to not wear seat-belts. And that is a law. She would've died regardless. Sometimes, it can't be helped. As sad as that is. It was also her own choice, and she paid greatly for her decision.
    God had plans, and now we just have to deal with that.

  • posted by Bill Williams

    March 22, 2011 11:44 pm

    Yes they did find out that drugs were not involved by blood tests.People always say rumors after a bad wreck and never know what to say accept to start stories without knowing the truth.

  • posted by Casey

    March 22, 2011 10:54 pm

    That is Bull Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • posted by Connie Talmage

    March 22, 2011 8:32 pm

    I wonder how many of the adults in Park County have not gone over the speed limit by 10 mph. I sure that many of you have and it just as well could have been you. Yes teenagers don't have the knowledge or experience of adults and that may have been a factor in the accident. BUT those that were injured and the girl that was killed were not wearing their seat belts as proscribed by Wyoming law. The girl might still have been killed but she sure wouldn't have been ejected. Also the boy who is now in a wheelchair might not be if he had also worn his seatbelt. I bet he is still wishing he had.
    Any more there is this mentality that it has to be more than just an accident. Not too many people get in their car and intend to get in an accident. Let alone kill and maim someone. I think the charges are fair for the information given. He is being held responsible for his actions.

    I know it is hard not to blame the driver. But as stated, there is enough blame to go around. Stop making a bad situation worse. The poor kid will never forget that night and I think that is more punishment than any jail time.

    Adults remember back to some of the crazy things we did in a car and be thankful that our trips ended with everyone arriving home safely.

  • posted by KLee Baker

    March 22, 2011 8:09 pm

    They never actually figured out LEGALLY if there were drugs involved.

    EmiLee was my younger cousin, practically my own sister. It was a tragic accident.... accident being the key word. But he still took the life of another because of negligence. That was HIS mistake and he is responsible, regardless.

    There is a lot more to this story than most people know. We are not on high horses. If you had lost a close family member and it was as disorganized and unclear as most of this case, you would be quick to anger as well.

    These kinds of wounds never heal. And it takes time to forgive.

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