Archive | February, 2014

Daniel Galaviz Undefeated Nevada State Champion

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

statechamp

WWHS senior Danny Galaviz receives a bear hug from Coach Mike Beardall after winning the championship match against Laughlin’s Colin Kruse in the 195 lbs weight division at the state tournament in Prim lest weekend. The state crown capped a rare perfect season for Galaviz at 38-0 and was the first state wrestling crown in the 28 history of West Wendover High School.

In addition to Galaviz West Wendover grapplers Moises Prieto took 2nd in the 285 lbs weight division and Rustin Rubino took 3rd in the 170 lbs division.

Four other WWHS grapplers qualified for state : 106 Lisandro Rojas , 145 Carlos Quintero, 152 Chris Mendez, and 182 Saul Mendoza.

Despite the rather small contingent WWHS’ outstanding performance put the team in 6th place out of 25 schools.

photos by William Gorsline

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Woman In Montego Bay Heist: Witness, Hostage, Accomplice?

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

madamx

West Wendover Police Chief Burdel Welsh confirmed there was a third person, a woman, involved in the robbery of Montego Bay Casino two weeks ago but just what role did she play is currently not known.

According to West Wendover Police reports Anthony Vera wearing either face paint or a mask approached the Montego Bay’s cashier’s cage two weeks ago Wednesday, jumped the counter, grabbed a cash box and fled the casino with an undetermined amount of cash. It is unknown whether Vera was armed at the time.

According to sources close to the investigation the robbery may have been an inside job. The photo used by police in their wanted poster comes from the files of casino workers and that Vera’s identity was provided from an unnamed source who was either involved in the crime or who had knowledge of it.

Montego Bay Bandits Elbert Woodson and Tony Vera

Montego Bay Bandits Elbert Woodson and Tony Vera

Vera had his first piece of luck by not being accosted either during or after the robbery.

He waltzed out of the casino jumped into the waiting car driven by Elbert Woodson. According to Welsh the woman was either in the car before the heist or was picked up in the parking lot as the two made their getaway.

wrecfraudThe bandits second stroke of luck cam when for unknown reasons neither the UHP trooper nor the Tooele County Sheriff’s Deputy normally on duty in Wendover gave chase to the fleeing robbers. The robbery was called into the West Wendover Police dispatch almost immediately after Vera fled the scene said West Wendover Police Chief Burdel Welsh, and as matter of course was immediately relayed to Tooele Dispatch for the Utah agencies.

Instead it would be another hour and more than 80 miles east of Wendover that the two men came under pursuit from a UHP trooper near Grantsville.

According to sources close to the investigation that trooper may not have even been aware the car he was chasing was involved in the Montego Bay robbery or even that the robbery occurred.

“About 12:30 a.m., one of our troopers located the vehicle traveling on I-80 [just west of Tooele] and attempted to make a stop. A high-speed pursuit ensued into Salt Lake County,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce.

Lightning-halfpage“The suspect vehicle continued toward the Salt Lake Valley and one person exited the vehicle near Bangerter Highway, south of Salt Lake City International Airport. The person exiting was later identified as an adult female.” Welsh wrote in a Wednesday press release. “She was later interviewed by, investigators from the West Wendover Police Department, and the State of Utah Department of Public Safety and the State Bureau of Investigation Division. The female’s identity is being withheld, pending prosecutor’s review of the case.  The female is currently listed a as witness. Ongoing investigation may determine if she was a party to the criminal activity.”

According to Welsh it was the woman who first identified Vera as the robber perhaps even before Woodson was captured after his vehicle crashed 20 miles down the road in Herriman, Utah.

After the woman left the vehicle, the chase continued along Bangerter Highway and reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. During the pursuit, it is believed that another suspect, identified as Anthony Matthew Vera, got out of the car, and avoided arrest.

antlerhuntThe driver, who UHP identified as 38-year-old Elbert Arnaz Woodson Jr., continued south on Bangerter Highway and through a quiet Herriman neighborhood near 7000 West 13400 South. The vehicle later hit telephone and utility poles, became airborne  over the fence, where Woodson was taken into custody.

Arrest Warrants from the State of Nevada were issued for Anthony Matthew Vera and Elbert Arnaz Woodson Jr. Elbert Arnaz Woodson Jr. is currently being held in the Tooele County Detention Center.

Before the robbery Woodson had been out on his own recognizance awaiting trial for cheating at gambling.

In the 75 year history of Wendover gaming no casino robber ever escaped for more than an hour let alone the two weeks Vera has been on the lam.

 

 

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Hotel Nevada Sold

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

hotelnv

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved Las Vegas based Gaughan Gaming’s buy in and management takeover of Ely’s historic Hotel Nevada last week.

Gaughan Gaming, operated by John Gaughan in partnership with Paul Kellogg, will oversee operations at the 85-year-old casino as well as own a 50 percent share of the venerable property.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal also includes an ownership stake in The Postal Palace, O’Aces Bar and Huntridge Tavern in Las Vegas.

wrecfraudGaughan, CEO of Las Vegas-based Gaughan Gaming, said he was “excited to be part of this historic property in central Nevada.”

“We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Ely and White Pine County community and we are committed to continue offering a strong level of customer service at this landmark property,” Gaughan said in a statement.

The six-story Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall was built in 1929 and features 67 rooms. At the time it was built, the hotel was the tallest building in the state.

antlerhuntAccording to the company’s website, John Gaughan and Mike Gaughan Jr. are the third generation that has set its sights in continuing the success of their family. John and Mike combine over 35 years of experience to create a diverse, creative and successful gaming experience.

John Gaughan, quickly made his mark on Nevada’s key industry. John founded Las Vegas Dissemination Company in 1988.  Since that time, the company has grown from a three person operation operating in a 300 square foot office near Fremont Street to its market leader position as the largest provider of pari-mutuel wagering and horse racing simulcasts. LVDC has became Nevada’s exclusive pari-mutuel service provider.

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Celia Costanzo To Fight Bullies In Honor of Murdered Daughter Mickie

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Celia Costanzo with daughter DJ.

Celia Costanzo with daughter DJ.

Celia Costanzo will share the story of her daughter Micki’s 2011 murder at an event sponsored by Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) next week in Tooele.

16 year old Micaela “Mickie” Costanzo was kidnapped and murdered by fellow West Wendover High School Students Toni Fratto and Kody Patten three years ago next week. In an interview with KUTV Mrs. Costanzo said the killing happened after weeks of verbal attacks by Fratto against Mickie and her other daughter also a student at WWHS.

BACA asked Costanzo to speak at their event on March 7th about bullying, child abuse and domestic violence, all of which Costanzo said her daughter was a victim of.

“Toni would curse at [Micaela’s sister] and call her names outside… Kody was walking the school halls after school waiting for [Micaela] to come out of the locker room,” Costanzo told the Salt Lake TV news show said. “With all that I did and all that we do as parents, there’s still more we can do by making teachers, other students, other adults aware. They can make a difference.”

“The BACA group was present in the search and during her funeral, and they were there for support for us,” Costanzo said. “We need to protect our children.”

BACA asked Costanzo to speak at their event on March 7th about bullying, child abuse and domestic violence, all of which Costanzo said her daughter was a victim of.

wrecfraud“There’s over 1,500 kids a year in the U.S. that die due to abuse and neglect,” said Tyson “Kidd” Hamilton, president of the Western Utah Chapter of BACA. “It’s good for kids to be empowered and come forward.”

Patten who plead guilty to murder to avoid a possible death sentence is serving life without the possibility of parole at the Nevada Maximum security prison in Ely where he now goes by the prison nickname of ‘Big Bird’.

Fratto who received an 18 year to life sentence in a deal for her testimony against Patten is serving her time at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in rural Clark County.

Lightning-halfpage“As a single mom, I put all those safety precautions in place, and it wasn’t quite enough,” Costanzo said. “If, by telling my story, it brings awareness to someone in a community, or it sounds familiar enough to stop and ask a question, then I’ve helped and Micaela’s helped.”

Costanzo will share her story with BACA at Tooele Applied Technology College on March 7 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 

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Wolverines Learn CPR

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Students preparing to administer mouth-to-mouth breathing

Students preparing to administer mouth-to-mouth breathing

Cathrine Topholm leading CPR discussion

Cathrine Topholm leading CPR discussion

West Wendover High School’s Foundations of Public Safety students are being trained in CPR this week.  Christina O’Keeffe, the teacher of the class, organized the training which is being led by Cathrine Topholm, WWHS’s Health Aide.  Thirty-eight students are being trained and seventeen are hoping to earn official certification when they take their final test later this week.

Foundations of Public Safety and Emergency Telecommunications are classes geared toward helping students recognize the many opportunities available in the public health and safety fields.  CPR training is providing these students with valuable knowledge and skills in case of an emergency.

 

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Miracle Man

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

quintin

In Wendover just one day a week computer specialist Quintin Rice has saved local resients and businesses thousands of dollars and brought back machines thought dead back to life.

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West Wendover Police Blotter

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

ACEVEDO, DONNA M Birth Date: 11/27/63 Arrest Time/Date: 19:29:00 02/23/14 Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino Offenses: DOM BATTERY BY STRANGULATION Total bond : $15,000

ACEVEDO, DONNA M
Birth Date: 11/27/63
Arrest Time/Date: 19:29:00 02/23/14
Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino
Offenses: DOM BATTERY BY STRANGULATION
Total bond : $15,000

 

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GONZALES, MIKEL R Birth Date: 01/29/85 Arrest Time/Date: 04:56:00 02/23/14 Arrest Location: Nugget Casino Offenses: TRESPASS, NOT AMOUNTING TO BURGLARY; WARRANT ARREST; BENCH WARRANT; BENCH WARRANT Total bond : $1,955

GONZALES, MIKEL R
Birth Date: 01/29/85
Arrest Time/Date: 04:56:00 02/23/14
Arrest Location: Nugget Casino
Offenses: TRESPASS, NOT AMOUNTING TO BURGLARY; WARRANT ARREST; BENCH WARRANT; BENCH WARRANT
Total bond : $1,955

 

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HUDA, AHMED Q Birth Date: 12/21/72 Arrest Time/Date: 22:53:41 02/21/14 Arrest Location: W Wendover BLVD Offenses: BENCH WARRANT Total bond : $315

HUDA, AHMED Q
Birth Date: 12/21/72
Arrest Time/Date: 22:53:41 02/21/14
Arrest Location: W Wendover BLVD
Offenses: BENCH WARRANT
Total bond : $315

 

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JENKINS, LEONARD B Birth Date: 07/01/73 Arrest Time/Date: 02:45:06 02/25/14 Arrest Location: Pilot Gas Station Offenses: POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S, (1ST/2ND); POSS TO SELL SCH I/II, FLNTRZPM/GHB, (1S; USE/POSS DRUG-PARA; FALSE STMT TO/OBSTRUCT PUB OFF Total bond : $11,769

JENKINS, LEONARD B
Birth Date: 07/01/73
Arrest Time/Date: 02:45:06 02/25/14
Arrest Location: Pilot Gas Station
Offenses: POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S, (1ST/2ND); POSS TO SELL SCH I/II, FLNTRZPM/GHB, (1S; USE/POSS DRUG-PARA; FALSE STMT TO/OBSTRUCT PUB OFF
Total bond : $11,769

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MILLER, HAUSKIE L Birth Date: 11/24/82 Arrest Time/Date: 00:03:00 02/24/14 Arrest Location: W Wendover BLVD Offenses: BDOM BATTERY, 1ST Total bond : $3,127.00

MILLER, HAUSKIE L
Birth Date: 11/24/82
Arrest Time/Date: 00:03:00 02/24/14
Arrest Location: W Wendover BLVD
Offenses: BDOM BATTERY, 1ST
Total bond : $3,127.00

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RATLIFF, SHAWN C Birth Date: 07/05/95 Arrest Time/Date: 18:18:40 02/23/14 Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino Offenses: USE/POSS DRUG-PARA; ALLOW PERS < 21 LOITER/WORK IN GAME AREA; TRESPASS, NOT AMOUNTING TO BURGLARY Total bond : $2,132

RATLIFF, SHAWN C
Birth Date: 07/05/95
Arrest Time/Date: 18:18:40 02/23/14
Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino
Offenses: USE/POSS DRUG-PARA; ALLOW PERS < 21 LOITER/WORK IN GAME AREA; TRESPASS, NOT AMOUNTING TO BURGLARY
Total bond : $2,132

SMITH, JASON E Birth Date: 05/19/76 Arrest Time/Date: 05:24:35 02/21/14 Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino Offenses: BURGLARY, (1ST); POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S, (1ST/2ND); POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S five counts Total bond : $30,000

SMITH, JASON E
Birth Date: 05/19/76
Arrest Time/Date: 05:24:35 02/21/14
Arrest Location: Montego Bay Casino
Offenses: BURGLARY, (1ST); POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S, (1ST/2ND); POSS SCH I, II, III, IV C/S five counts
Total bond : $30,000

TRACY, GERRIT D Birth Date: 09/15/89 Arrest Time/Date: 02:45:06 02/25/14 Arrest Location: Peppermill Casino Offenses: TRAFFICK SCH I C/S, FLNTRZPM/GHB, 4-14 G; USE/POSS DRUG-PARA three counts Total bond : $52,220

TRACY, GERRIT D
Birth Date: 09/15/89
Arrest Time/Date: 02:45:06 02/25/14
Arrest Location: Peppermill Casino
Offenses: TRAFFICK SCH I C/S, FLNTRZPM/GHB, 4-14 G; USE/POSS DRUG-PARA three counts
Total bond : $52,220

 

 

 

 

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Quintin Rice Computer Maven

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

We have lots of computers and we spend a lot of money on hardware, software and repairs.

Its just a cost of doing business or so we thought until Quintin Rice came into our offices.

It was rather serendipitous.

We had just broken our laptop.

The computer store we used to use Macdocs had been bought out by Simply Mac and they told us the best they could do was sell us a new computer.

We went on line and find a place which took our machine on spec and did fix most of it for $200. There was a little problem with the latch system which they wanted to charge around $400.

We said we could live with a bad latch.

When we told that story to Quintin he smiled and said he could fix the latch for under $100.

We didn’t believe him.

But we added we had another laptop with a bust screen that every computer store said was un-salvageable.

Again we didn’t believe him.

But he insisted he could so we took him up on it.

It is our son’s computer so not really a matter of life and death.

Took about a week to get the new screen and less than an hour for him to fix it.

Total cost less then $100.

Then he fixed our broken latch again total cost less than $100.

We must admit that one of the reasons why we did not believe Quintin was because we are Apple snobs.

And as Apple snobs we knew that this obviously PC guy could not possibly repair our fine sophisticated machines.

We were morons.

Quintin Rice is a true Maven of computers which is the highest accolade we can give.

He will have our business for as long as he wants it and we urge all of readers to call him first when your own machine breaks down.

You will not need to get to make another call.

 

We have many childless friends and they mark their time either by jobs or pets. And there is a very depressing poem out their where the protagonist marks his time by coffee spoons.

We mark our time by our children and grandchildren.

Starting with 1983 give us a year and we can tell you which of our four was doing what/when/where/why and how.

It is not because we were particularly good parents. It is just something all parents at least all the ones we have ever met do.

For us 2011 is the year our son Ari joined the army and the year our daughter Anna announced she was pregnant.

For Celia Costanzo 2011 is the year time stopped.

Her daughter Mickie was murdered that year.

And we can only imagine how each and everyday after has been for her.

Our mother-in-law who lost two sons kept time that way. There was the glorious past before Charles died and then there was the time after Charles died.

She like Celia did not retreat from the world in a veil of depression.

She learned to laugh and to take joy again.

Even after she lost her second son she again came to grips with the world and took a measure of comfort in her remaining children and grandchildren.

Still the wounds were there.

She grieved for her boys as Celia grieves for her daughter everyday that passes without her.

That Celia is doing something in Mickie’s memory we applaud and support.

She is a wonderful woman who deserves our respect and our attention.

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Gaming Commision Fines Peppermill $1 Million Dollars For Slot Spying

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

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The Peppermill Corporation agreed to pay a $1 million fine this week for spying on rival casinos’ slot machine according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Peppermill is privately owned by a multiple family partnership and is one of northern Nevada largest gaming business.

According to the formal complaint from the Control Board, the Peppermill was operating in “an unsuitable manner” when Ryan Tors, a corporate analyst for the casino, was caught in July using a reset key on several slot machines at the Grand Sierra Casino Resort in Reno.

click for Newmont Notes

click for Newmont Notes

 

By using the key, the Peppermill employee was able to learn certain diagnostic information about the slot machine, such as play history, hold percentages, event logs and game configuration.

During the investigation, the board found that Tors gathered information on slot machines at the Grand Sierra and at 10 other Northern Nevada casinos, including the Eldorado, Circus Circus Reno, Siena, Atlantis, Rail City in Sparks, and the Nugget and Red Garter in Wendover.

According to the complaint, Tors had been gathering the information since 2011.

antlerhuntThe investigation revealed that Peppermill management approved and directed Tors to obtain the theoretical hold percentage information from the competition’s slot machines using the “reset” key.

Board members said the Peppermill’s actions “constitute a failure … to exercise discretion and sound judgment to prevent incidents which might reflect on the repute of the state of Nevada and act as a detriment to the development of the industry.”

In responding to the fine, the Peppermill issued a statement taking full responsibility for the action.

“This is certainly a regrettable situation and the Peppermill apologizes for the obvious lack of judgment on the part of its executive staff,” the statement said. “The Peppermill has never been subject to regulatory action in all of its 43 years and does not intend on being subject to censure again.”

Lightning-halfpageThe amount of the fine reflects the severity of the infraction, Reno gaming analyst Ken Adams said. Just the perception that someone is messing around with slot machines can have a negative impact on how consumers perceive the integrity of gaming operations in the state, he said.

“It’s a lot of damn money,” Adams said. “The state requires casinos to not do anything that damages Nevada’s reputation or its gaming industry. One million dollars is an unusually high fine and suggests that the state of Nevada sees this as a serious breach.”

The last two fines to hit the million-dollar mark in the state involved scandals in Las Vegas. One was a $1 million fine in January 2013 against the Palms for drug sales and prostitution at its clubs. The last was a $5.5 million fine — the largest ever recorded in Nevada — against CG Technology for a sports wagering scandal that involved a nationwide illegal betting scheme.

wrecfraudThe proposed settlement also does not absolve the Peppermill should the board find evidence that it adjusted its own payouts or the looseness of its slots based on information gathered by Tors in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Indeed several of the gaming properties named in the complaint are considering taking civil action against the Peppermill.

One of the affected properties, the Eldorado, is seeking more information from the gaming board as it mulls how to proceed forward following the news.

“The Carano Family and the Eldorado Hotel Casino, like the entire Gaming Community, are extremely saddened, disappointed and angry to learn that Peppermill’s Management knew of, approved of, and directed its Employee to misappropriate our Confidential Trade Secret information,” Gary Carano, president and chief operating officer of Eldorado Resorts, said via e-mail. “We have just learned of these actions upon the issuance of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s complaint and believe the Gaming Control Board should share the results of its investigation into the matter with the other casinos involved so that we may all assess the damages caused to our properties by Peppermill’s improper actions.”

WEN01172014A04The Peppermill corporation in the past was often accused of stretching the bounds of competition by rival casinos.

“They were pretty aggressive,” said the late Michael Devine former CEO of the StateLine corporation whose 65 year old family owned gaming company was forced into bankruptcy a decade ago. “I doubt they did anything illegal but some of the stuff they we considered over the line.”

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Montego Bay Bandit Still Free

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

veraposter

 

Anthony Vera, the Montego Bay Bandit, may be on the run from the law for over a week but no matter how tired, cold or hungry he is he also made a bit of history last Wednesday.

This Wednesday warrants for the two men were issued by Elko County.

Until he ran off with a cash box full of money no one in over 75 years had successfully robbed a Wendover Casino ever.

Of course Wednesday robbery did not go off completely without a hitch. Vera’s wheelman in the heist, Elbert Woodson, was nabbed after he crashed the get away car about two hours after the robbery on the outskirts of Slat Lake City.

Elbert Woodson

Elbert Woodson

Still Woodson might qualify for the silver medal if robbing Wendover Casinos was an Olympic sport since the no one before him ever made it that far in the over 75 years since the first slot machine was installed in Wendover.

Wendover’s heretofore astonishing success in thwarting bandits has less to do with its law enforcement, albeit the agencies which serve the town are professional as can be, than the Utah/Nevada border town’s extreme isolation.

There are just three roads out of Wendover and it is 120 miles in any direction before another city.

“There is no place to run,” said the late local lawman Earl Lacey in a 1990 feature story in the High Desert Advocate about Wendover invulnerability to would be robbers. “Sure people have tried but even back in my day we had radios. If we couldn’t run ‘em down, we would call ahead and either the NHP or the UHP or Elko, White Pine or Tooele Sheriffs would set up a road block. Even the smartest crook couldn’t get around that.”

If Vera wasn’t smart he certainly was lucky.

wrecfraudAccording to West Wendover Police reports Vera wearing either face paint or a mask approached the Montego Bay’s cashier’s cage, jumped the counter, grabbed a cash box and fled the casino with an undetermined amount of cash. It is unknown whether Vera was armed at the time. Nor is it known how much money he got away with. Being it was a Wednesday night one of the slowest days of the week it may not have been much. On the other hand with Valentine’s Day approaching there may have been more than the normal amount of cash on hand. And Vera may have known.

According to sources close to the investigation the robbery may have been an inside job. The photo used by police in their wanted poster comes from the files of casino workers and that Vera’s identity was provided from an unnamed source who was either involved in the crime or who had knowledge of it.

Vera had his first piece of lucky by not being accosted either during or after the robbery.

He waltzed out of the casino jumped into the waiting car driven by Woodson.

Lightning-halfpageThe bandits second stroke of luck cam when for unknown reasons neither the UHP trooper nor the Tooele County Sheriff’s Deputy normally on duty in Wendover gave chase to the fleeing robbers. the robbery was called into the West Wendover Police dispatch almost immediately after Vera fled the scene said West Wendover Police chief Burdel Welsh, and as matter of course was immediately relayed to Tooele Dispatch for the Utah agencies.

Instead it would be another hour and more than 80 miles east of Wendover that the two men came under pursuit from a UHP trooper near Grantsville.

WEN01172014A04

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