Woman Gets Probation, CRC for Serious DUI Crash on Casper Mountain
A woman will avoid prison after admitting earlier this year to driving while under the influence of alcohol and causing a crash that seriously injured two other women.
Robyn Hope Frisby was sentenced Wednesday in Natrona County District Court to five years of supervised probation with an underlying, suspended three- to five-year prison sentence.
District Court Judge Daniel Forgey also ordered Frisby to pay $10,730.60 in restitution and complete the felony program at the Casper Re-Entry Center.
Frisby is not allowed to drive while on probation, but Forgey said she could ask the court to reconsider that condition at a later date.
"It's been over a year since the accident, and it has tormented me every day," Frisby said before being sentenced. "I'd do anything to take back that night, to take away their injuries."
Charging papers say on Oct. 9, 2016, Frisby was driving a black 2007 Jeep on East End Road and collided head-on with a 2004 Chevrolet pickup, which was occupied by two women and a four-month-old child.
Frisby told a responding deputy that she had consumed two beers at her cabin earlier in the evening. She was arrested and taken to jail, where a breath sample indicated her blood-alcohol content was .13 at the time she was booked.
One victim, Gayle Eastridge, spoke in court Wednesday. She said she has had six surgeries on her legs, and will have to undergo an additional two surgeries.
Court documents say Eastridge also suffered broken bones including a broken rib, a large cut on her left shin, a dislocated ankle and a concussion. In multiple surgeries over the course of the 10 days following the wreck, doctors had to put several pins and screws into her legs.
Mikala Revere, who is the mother of the child that was in the pickup, suffered a head injury and hematoma, a dislocated and fractured hip, a bruised knee and a fractured kneecap. She also had to undergo multiple surgeries.
The child was not injured, but Frisby said Revere was unable to nurse the child due to pain medication prescribed following the crash.
Regarding her recovery, Eastridge said she is "not at all where I'd hoped to be by now." She said the impacts of the crash have been "overwhelming."
"I want to be able to help my mom in and out of her wheelchair," Eastridge told the court. "I want to be able to split wood and carry inside."
Eastridge emphasized that she did not want Frisby to be separated from her children as a result of the sentence.
"At some point in our lives, everyone in this courtroom has made a really bad decision. We've all done it," Eastridge said.
"I do not believe it serves any good purpose," Eastridge continued, "to keep her from her children." She asked that Frisby be able to serve any incarceration locally, with access to her children.
Four character witnesses spoke on Frisby's behalf, including Kristi Hann, a therapist and clinical director at Wyoming Recovery.
Hann first encountered Frisby on Oct. 18, 2016, when Frisby reported to complete an addiction severity index. Then, in the spring, Frisby reached out for more help.
"She was struggling significantly with depression, anxiety and what I thought at that time to be post-traumatic stress disorder," Hann said Wednesday. She did later diagnose Frisby with PTSD.
"She struggled to find any happiness or joy for herself, as if she doesn't deserve it," Hann continued. "She struggles to think about how much they're suffering. She just hasn't been able to move on."
Another person who spoke in support of Frisby explained how Frisby has cared for a child who lives with a rare, serious medical condition.
"It's pretty hard to find caregivers that you can actually trust, and Robyn is very trustworthy," that parent said. "That's something you don't find in very many people."
"Folks like her don't come along very often," the parent continued, calling Frisby, "a very good person."
Cody Lou Taubert, who works for the United Way of Natrona County, said she has known Frisby for 22 years. Frisby, she said, was inspired to volunteer locally as a Special Olympics swim coach.
Taubert also said Frisby played a role in bringing the Mandarin dual-language immersion program to Paradise Valley Elementary School.
"Through her cancer situation and her terrible health, she was still the person I called when I needed something," Taubert said of Frisby. She called Frisby "very community-minded."
The state sought prison time in the case, asking for three to five years of incarceration.
"We're not here to sentence a person based upon their character of what they did within the community," Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen said. "What is scary about the defendant's conduct is that it could happen to anybody."
Frisby's character, Itzen argued, "doesn't lessen the damage upon these victims." Itzen, who acknowledged the difficulty in deciding upon an appropriate sentence, also questioned the message that a sentence of probation would send to the community.
"Do we say, 'It's okay if you choose the right victims and they happen to live? Then you get probation?'" Itzen asked. "Or is the message wen sen here today, judge, 'You drink, you drive, and there will be consequences?'"
In the presentence investigation report, Frisby is quoted as saying, "I wish I could take their place and their injuries."
Turning to address the victims in court on Wednesday, Frisby said tearfully, "I am so truly sorry for all of the pain I've caused you."
"Going through cancer," Frisby added, "doesn't compare to the pain of the last year. I am so, so sorry. I will never be able to forgive myself."
"All I can do is hope that I can make it up to them someday," Frisby continued. "I will do everything for the rest of my life to make sure I never put the people I love or the people around me in danger."
Judge Forgey, who rarely comments on sentences, said in court Wednesday that he was "particularly impressed by the resilience of the victims in this case." Forgey added that he was impressed by Frisby's resilience, as well.
Frisby, Forgey continued, now has an opportunity to show further resilience by demonstrating that she can be a "sober, law-abiding citizen that does not need to be removed from society."