|Friday, Apr 3, 2009|
In the early morning hours of March 21st, Midwest Regional Ozark Communication Center, the parkâs dispatch office, advised rangers of a violent altercation among a group of about seven campers at Rush Campground, a remote area in the Lower Buffalo District. MROCC advised that the reporting party, an unrelated camper, had fled the campground for his own safety. Rangers Noel Mays and Kevin Moses responded with deputies from the Marion County Sheriffâs Office (MCSO). Upon arrival, they were met by several other campers who told them that the group in question had departed the campground within the last half hour. While rangers were inspecting the campsite and securing witness statements, MCSO dispatch reported that four members of the party had just arrived at their office to report the incident and that several had sustained injuries, including blunt trauma from a large stick and superficial knife injuries. Mays and Moses, along with ranger Karl Sommerhauser and LES Jeff West, met with the four people at MCSO, two of whom were reporting to have been injured but declined medical treatment. Shortly thereafter, officers from nearby Flippin Police Department arrested a fifth member of the party for DUI and transported her and her two companions to MCSO. Rangers remained at MCSO until 6 a.m., interviewing the members of the camping party, and determined that two of them (who are engaged to be married) had engaged in a physical altercation with two other members of the camping party, a married couple, wherein an all-out drunken brawl ensued involving sticks, fists, knives, and motor vehicles. The investigation continues at this time with ongoing interviews. Moses and West are conferring with the parkâs Assistant United States Attorneyâs Office and possible assault and disorderly conduct charges are pending.