I.F. man arrested for lewd conduct after leading officers on chase in Wyoming

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Robert Richey was arrested early Saturday morning in Sublette County, Wyoming. | Courtesy Sublette County Sheriff’s Office

REXBURG — An Idaho Falls man was arrested in Wyoming and will be extradited back to Idaho on a charge that he committed lewd conduct with a child under 16.

Robert Richey, 51, is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl at least five times since November.

Rexburg Police Capt. Randy Lewis says Richey was homeless when he met the girl’s family and they invited him to temporarily live with them.

“He groomed this girl and committed sex acts on her at the Motel 6 in Rexburg and down in Idaho Falls,” Lewis tells EastIdahoNews.com. “He admitted to the girl’s mother what happened and we were notified Friday (Feb. 23).”

Police tracked Richey’s cell phone to the Boundurant area of Wyoming Friday night. Two Sublette County deputies spotted his vehicle at the Branding Iron Grill around 10 p.m.

Robert Richey | Sublette County Sheriff’s Office

Richey saw the deputies and sped off, initiating a high-speed pursuit before crashing near the entrance to Hoback Canyon, according to a news release. Richey then jumped out of the vehicle and ran away while holding a hand gun.

Deputies used night vision equipment to locate Richey and trackers followed his footprints in the snow until he was arrested around 1:40 a.m. He had been exposed to temperatures of between -12 and -16 degrees for about three hours and was transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for treatment.

In addition to the lewd conduct charge, Richey was charged in Wyoming as a fugitive from justice, driving under the influence, reckless driving, open container, attempting to elude a police officer and speeding.

Richey is in custody on $100,000 bond.