Driver accused in fatal hit and run pleads not guilty

Hannah Black, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne
·4 min read

Apr. 13—CHEYENNE — A local man accused of hitting and killing a woman with his vehicle while drunk and leaving the scene pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon in Laramie County District Court.

Kyle A. Ziemer is charged with aggravated homicide by vehicle (DUI), which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death.

Laramie County District Judge Steven Sharpe scheduled Ziemer's trial for Aug. 3.

After hearing arguments from both the state and Ziemer's attorney, Ross McKelvey, Sharpe modified Ziemer's bond to allow him to post through a bail bondsman. He is also required to wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet and, if he's released from jail, he is not allowed to drive a vehicle.

McKelvey argued that, as a lifelong Cheyenne resident who owns a home in the city, Ziemer was not a flight risk. Assistant District Attorney Jonah Buckley said the state did consider Ziemer "a serious danger to the community," and that "there's at least going to be low to slight flight risk when you're looking at a potential 20 years in prison."

On Monday, Ziemer appeared from the Laramie County jail. His bond was originally set at $20,000 cash.

Andrea Martinez, 38, of Cheyenne was identified by Wyoming Highway Patrol as the victim in the case. Martinez was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center shortly after the incident, where she died from her injuries.

At 5:49 p.m. March 24, Cheyenne Police officer Alyssa Muzquiz responded to a hit and run involving a pedestrian near the intersection of Nationway and Hot Springs Avenue. According to court documents, Martinez was walking eastbound on the asphalt part of a median on Nationway when the driver of a red 2014 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, later identified as Ziemer, swerved into the median and struck Martinez, witnesses said.

When she arrived at the scene, Officer Muzquiz saw Martinez lying in the median and took over from a civilian who was administering CPR to Martinez.

Muzquiz later interviewed two witnesses who had been driving behind Ziemer. Both said they saw him swerve into the median, hit Martinez with his truck and continue driving on Nationway, according to court documents.

Officer Logan Warren arrived at Ziemer's residence shortly after he allegedly struck Martinez with his vehicle. When Warren arrived, two witnesses said they had followed Ziemer from the scene, and one pointed at Ziemer to identify him as the person who hit Martinez, according to court documents. The two witnesses said they were driving near Ziemer, one in front of and one behind him, when they saw him hit Martinez.

Officer Warren made contact with Ziemer as he was attempting to open his front door, handcuffing him and placing him in the back of his patrol car while he interviewed witnesses, Warren said during a preliminary hearing April 2 in Laramie County Circuit Court. Warren noticed Ziemer's speech was slurred, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, and he smelled of alcohol.

Warren testified that Ziemer's blood-alcohol level was tested at CRMC after the incident, but he didn't know the results of the test. Ziemer failed one field sobriety test, Warren said, and further tests were not conducted because Ziemer had fallen over several times while in police custody.

During interviews with police, Ziemer said he'd had six beers at a work party, and initially said he had been driven home by a friend, Warren testified.

Later, at the hospital, Ziemer told police he'd hit Martinez with his vehicle, saying: "I was the one driving," and "It's a huge relief to tell someone I drove and hit the woman with my truck," according to court documents.

Officer Warren testified that, after learning Martinez had died, Ziemer "looked sad" and said he "felt bad." When asked during the jail booking process if he was depressed, Ziemer said he was because he had just killed someone, Warren said.

Hannah Black is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at hblack@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @hannahcblack.