State pays $110K to settle with kidnapped trucker
CHEYENNE, wyo – The state of Wyoming has paid $110,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Wal-Mart trucker kidnapped last year by a rogue state trooper in an aborted murder plot.
Trucker Richard J. Smidt of Arvada, Colorado says he hopes the settlement will force the Wyoming Highway Patrol to improve how it trains and oversees troopers.
Former trooper Franklin Ryle admitted last year to kidnapping Smidt and planning to kill him in a staged accident to extort money from Wal-Mart.
Ryle pleaded guilty last year to violating Smidt's civil rights and is serving a 15-year prison sentence.
The Highway Patrol originally paid Smidt $10,000 to settle his claims without telling him about Ryle's plot.
Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg declined comment.