Authorities say a Casper man and a local woman used a stolen vehicle to lead police and deputies on a Monday night chase in Cody.
Duane A. Jarvis, 24, and Breanna L. Roemmich, 20, are alleged to have sped through residential neighborhoods — each taking a turn at driving — ignored stop signs and lights and to have tried escaping on foot after damaging their vehicle.
Jarvis, of Casper, and Roemmich, of Cody, are each facing four criminal charges: one felony count of theft and misdemeanor counts of interference with a peace officer, fleeing or eluding police and reckless driving for Monday’s incident.
The two were driving a Mazda Miata that authorities say was stolen from Thermopolis on Sunday; Roemmich later told Cody police that Jarvis drove the vehicle to Powell on Sunday afternoon and then stayed with her at her motel room.
Officers with the Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Highway Patrol spotted the stolen Mazda on the Powell-Cody highway Sunday evening, but after a pursuit, the driver was able to elude authorities. No charges have been filed in connection with that chase.
During a Tuesday hearing in Circuit Court in Cody, Deputy Park County Attorney Leda Pojman said the prosecution was “not impressed at all” with the sequence of events.
“There are at least two if not ... several high speed chases with multiple agencies … over a two-day span,” Pojman said. She argued that citizens and law enforcement officers had been endangered and recommended that the court set Jarvis’ bail at $60,000 and Roemmich’s at $50,000.
Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters agreed with those recommendations.
“This certainly does involve public safety and flight risk,” Waters said in setting Roemmich’s bail. “[$50,000] seems reasonable to me.”
Both defendants said they were unemployed; the judge asked Jarvis why he didn’t have a job.
“Don’t want to work anymore,” Jarvis replied.
“Don’t want to?” Waters asked.
“Nope. I’m going to prison,” Jarvis said. “I’ll work in Rawlins.”
“OK,” Waters said. “I’m sure the state’s [the prosecution’s] happy to try to work that out and work with you on that.”
Both defendants were assigned court-appointed attorneys.
Roemmich initially said she did not want a lawyer, but Waters ordered a public defender anyway.
“You have a felony charge that could land you in the Women’s Center for a number of years. So you do want to be represented by an attorney on this,” the judge told Roemmich.
One chase took place around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, when officers with the Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Highway Patrol tried stopping the Mazda.
“Ultimately, [Wyoming Highway Patrol] troopers terminated the pursuit as the driver of that vehicle was driving into oncoming traffic,” Cody Police Officer Scott Burlingame wrote in charging documents.
Burlingame spotted the vehicle again on Cody’s Yellowstone Avenue around 10:45 p.m. Monday — noting a distinctive New Orleans Saints bumper sticker — and tried pulling it over. The Mazda instead pulled away and sped up, with Roemmich allegedly at the wheel.
She reportedly hit 57 mph in one residential neighborhood, ran a stop sign and hit a drainage bar. Roemmich later slowed on Meadowlane Avenue and Burlingame says he saw Roemmich switching seats so Jarvis could take over the driving. When they finished changing spots, the Mazda sped off again at roughly 57 mph, Burlingame wrote.
The vehicle ran another stop sign, cut through a parking lot and nearly hit two pursuing patrol vehicles; Cody Police Officer Jason Potter had to swerve to avoid a head-on collision, Burlingame said.
Jarvis is alleged to have begun driving in the wrong lane and Cody officers temporarily cut off the pursuit “due to the obvious threat to the motoring public,” Burlingame said.
However, the Mazda then hit a concrete island on Sheridan Avenue and began moving more slowly; Burlingame said he could smell “the distinct odor of burning rubber.”
After running a stoplight and going down the wrong side on Sheridan Avenue, the Mazda eventually stopped in one of Cody Regional Health’s parking lots and Roemmich and Jarvis fled on foot.
Roemmich was caught at the edge of the parking lot, while Jarvis went down the hill into a subdivision below the Cody hospital. Burlingame says he later spotted Jarvis trying to get into a parked vehicle on Canyon View Avenue and he was eventually apprehended not far from the jail.
Roemmich reportedly told police that she learned the Mazda had been stolen from Thermopolis on Monday afternoon — after the two had left Powell and headed to Cody. She reportedly quoted Jarvis as saying, “If the cops try to pull us over, I’m not going to stop.”
Both Roemmich and Jarvis are tentatively scheduled for preliminary hearings on Wednesday, where Waters can determine whether there’s enough evidence for the charges to move toward a trial in district court. They remained in the Park County Detention Center as of press time.