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Man Sentenced To Jail Time For Assault On Rangers

Badlands National Park

National Park News

Patrick White Mountain, who assaulted rangers Vincent Littlewhiteman and Chad Coles in 2007, has pled guilty to two counts of assaulting a federal officer and been sentenced to two years imprisonment. The other two people who were with him were convicted last year. On October 1, 2007, Coles contacted three Native American men who were riding in a van for a minor traffic violation. Almost immediately, they began yelling at him and stating that they were not accountable to the laws of the United States of America. When additional units arrived, two of the three men were arrested without incident on outstanding warrants, but when rangers called on White Mountain to get out of the vehicle he suddenly jumped to the driver’s seat and attempted to escape. His efforts failed after an assisting highway patrol officer jumped into the moving vehicle and turned the engine off. The attempt to arrest White Mountain failed, though, as three pit bulls in the vehicle lunged towards the officer. White Mountain was instructed to leash the animals and to step out of the vehicle; although he leashed the dogs, he let the leashes go after opening the side door of the van. The dogs jumped out and attacked Littlewhiteman. Using the dogs as a diversion, White Mountain grabbed a black bag from behind one of the seats and ran towards the badland formations to the east. Coles and one of the troopers started to pursue him, but one of the pit bulls attacked Coles, who fell to the ground. As he attempted to stand, the dog lunged towards his throat and face, so Coles drew his weapon and fired two rounds at the dog, stopping it. The incident quickly became multi-agency as a perimeter was setup and an NPS tactical team descended into the formations to search for White Mountain. Investigators meanwhile determined that the three men were transporting narcotics and that White Mountain was armed with a handgun.
After a three-hour search, which included overflights by a helicopter from the South Dakota Highway Patrol, White Mountain was found outside the park walking towards the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by tribal police officers. He was taken into custody and a search revealed that he had narcotics and a .38 caliber handgun in his possession. Both Littlewhiteman and Coles were treated for dog bite injuries and released.


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