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Mar 17, 2014 - The Associated Press

Judge rejects deal in fatal crash

GREELEY, Colo. -- A judge has rejected a plea agreement for a 22-year-old Wyoming man who was involved in a crash in northern Colorado that killed two siblings and an Air Force senior airman.

Weld County Court Judge Michele Meyer rejected 22-year-old Anthony Alacca's deal Friday, saying a sentence that didn't include jail time wouldn't be sufficient. Alacca, of Cheyenne, pleaded guilty in January to careless driving resulting in death and agreed to three years of unsupervised probation.

He was driving on U.S. 85 early on the morning of Aug. 15 when he failed to negotiate a curve north of Nunn.

Killed were 21-year-old Michael De La Rosa, 19-year-old Mariah Lynn De La Rosa, both of Cheyenne; and 21-year-old senior airman Michael Gnoato, who was stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne.

Doc's license pulled due to man's death

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Board of Medicine on Friday revoked the license of a doctor who performed surgery on a Montana man who died from an overdose of painkillers the day after his release from a Cody hospital.

The board's order revokes the license of Dr. John H. Schneider Jr. The board imposed a $25,000 civil fine against Schneider and ordered him to pay more than $124,000 to cover the cost of the proceeding against him.

Schneider performed back surgery at West Park Hospital in Cody in November 2011 on a man the board identifies only as John Doe. The man died at his home in Billings, Mont., the day after he was released.

His relatives filed a federal lawsuit last summer in U.S. District Court in Wyoming claiming negligence by the hospital and medical personnel including Schneider. The lawsuit identified the man who died as Russell Monaco, 47, of Billings.

An autopsy determined the man died of an overdose of painkillers prescribed either by Schneider, his physician's assistant Harley Morrell, or by both of them.

The autopsy found the presence of drugs including the painkillers oxycodone and fentanyl.

Schneider had contested the board's action at a hearing last September and has denied civil liability in the ongoing federal lawsuit. The board's order states he's licensed as a physician in Wyoming, Montana and Utah.

The board had suspended Schneider's license temporarily in early 2012 in response to the man's death. The board reinstated his license on a limited basis that year.

State's rig count holds steady

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 17 this week to 1,809.

The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,461 rigs were exploring for oil and 344 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained seven rigs, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas each gained four and Pennsylvania gained one.

Alaska lost three rigs, Kansas lost two and California declined by one. Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

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