POWELL — After racing into Powell at more than 140 mph and crashing into four different vehicles on Thursday, a Meeteetse man is facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence.
Cameron Boni, 49, remained in custody at the Park County Detention Center on Monday, with his bail set at $100,000.
Boni stands charged with a felony count of aggravated assault and battery — alleging he used his 2003 Volkswagen Jetta as a deadly weapon — plus a felony count of property destruction and a misdemeanor count of driving without valid auto insurance.
After the crash, Boni allegedly told authorities that he was speeding because he believed “people” had rigged his Jetta with explosives and were following him in an attempt to get his money.
There’s no indication in court records that he was actually being chased by anyone.
At a Friday hearing in Park County Circuit Court, prosecutor Jack Hatfield raised concerns about Boni’s mental health and past criminal offenses, saying the defendant “should not be allowed out of jail under any circumstance.”
“Mr. Boni appears to have been intentionally trying to kill people with his vehicle,” Hatfield alleged, noting that Boni was clocked going 143 mph on Coulter Avenue, near Homesteader Park. “There's only two ways that this case ends up, realistically, as Mr. Boni is either going to be spending a very long time in prison, or he’s probably going to be spending the rest of his life in the state hospital,” Hatfield contended. “Either way, he is the epitome of a public safety hazard.”
Hatfield and the Park County Attorney’s Office have opted to charge Boni as a “habitual criminal,” because this would be his third felony conviction and because aggravated assault and battery is a violent offense.
If Boni is found guilty, the habitual criminal designation would result in at least 10 years in prison.
At Friday’s hearing, Boni told Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah that he understands the charges are serious and he didn’t object to bail being set at $100,000.
“I’m going to try to do what I can to make everything better,” Boni said.
It was around 12:40 p.m. Thursday that the Wyoming Highway Patrol received reports of a black car “passing other cars at a very high rate of speed,” just east of Lovell on U.S. Highway 310, Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Danny Hite wrote in affidavit.
“They stated that the speed was so fast that they could not get a description of the car other than it was black in color,” Hite wrote, and witnesses later said the vehicle was passing some vehicles on the shoulder.
The trooper was in Ralston at the time of the call and he began heading east on U.S. Highway 14-A (Coulter Avenue), in an attempt to intercept the car.
When Hite reached the highway’s intersection with Jones Street in Powell, at 12:56 p.m., he spotted Boni’s Jetta speeding in from the east. The vehicle shot past the westbound trooper and continued into town.
Hite’s radar pegged the vehicle at 143 mph — more than four times the 35 mph speed limit.
Powell Police Lt. Matt McCaslin was at the Maverik gas station and happened to spot the Jetta whizzing by; at that point, he estimated its speed at more than 100 mph.
“My biggest concern was we were going to have major, major injuries,” McCaslin said in an interview.
He ran to his vehicle and prepared to pursue the driver, but as he notified dispatch, 911 calls were already coming in about multiple crashes. Between Bent and Absaroka streets, Boni attempted to steer around a 2020 GMC Terrain, but sideswiped the driver’s side of the SUV, which had three occupants, McCaslin wrote in an affidavit.
Boni then hit the passenger sides of a 2006 Dodge Dakota and a 2005 Honda Pilot.
After that, he ran a red light at the intersection with Absaroka Street and crashed into a 2009 Subaru Impreza that was attempting to turn onto the highway. The driver of the Subaru later went to the Powell Valley Hospital Emergency Room with pain in her teeth, neck and ear, in part due to the airbag deployed, McCaslin’s affidavit says.
Three of the four vehicles received well over $1,000 in damage — as did Boni’s — and he narrowly missed hitting a fifth, according to the charging documents.
“Boni’s vehicle had become disabled by the four separate collisions,” McCaslin wrote, “but due to its high speed and momentum, it did not come to rest until … approximately two full city blocks from the last collision …”
The car stopped near the intersection of Coulter Avenue and Cheyenne Street. That no one was seriously injured in the incident was “amazing,” McCaslin said in an interview.
“It’s miraculous, even,” he said.
Boni appeared to be “totally uninjured,” court records say.
In an interview with Trooper Hite, Boni reportedly said that he began speeding because he “began feeling like he was being followed.”
“He said he felt people had been following him for about a week now, and thought someone may have rigged his car to explode,” Hite wrote. “Boni said he is supposed to get a large sum of money soon and people know that.”
At one point, Boni reportedly said, several cars tried to “form a blockade” and slow him down and he sped away to ditch any followers.
“Boni did not seem concerned about the people he had just crashed into, nor did he appear to be frightened in any way,” wrote Hite, who interviewed Boni at the scene. “Boni’s attitude seemed as though he was only concerned about himself, as well as attempting to avoid whoever was following him.”
The suspect reportedly showed no signs of impairment.
Boni reportedly had no insurance on his Jetta, as the only document he produced was an expired insurance card from 2020, charging documents say.
Prosecutors say Boni was convicted of third-degree assault in Deschutes County, Oregon in 2001 and of aggravated assault and battery in Park County in 2007; Hatfield said the 2007 conviction stemmed from Boni threatening a Park County Sheriff’s deputy with a knife.
Boni is set for a preliminary hearing on Monday, May 22, when a judge will consider whether there’s enough evidence for the case to proceed to Park County District Court.
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