Protection rangers were involved in a series of incidents leading to the arrest of four people over the course of two days in mid-April:
An on-duty ranger made a routine permit inspection visitor contact at Oakridge Campground on Friday, April 16th, and interrupted a man in the process of injecting himself with a suspected heroin filled syringe. The contact resulted in the man’s arrest. Following the arrest, approximately four grams of heroin, two grams of marijuana, a crack pipe and unauthorized prescription medication were seized.
On Saturday, April17th, an on-duty ranger was first on the scene at a serious motorcycle accident on Joplin Road bordering park property. While the ranger was assisting with traffic direction, an oncoming motorist failed to stop and drove past the ranger and his patrol car, nearly striking the ranger. The driver stopped after a short distance due to a fire truck blocking the roadway. When county police and the ranger made contact with the occupants, they opened the vehicle’s doors and a “cloud of smoke” issued from within. The driver of the vehicle was arrested by the county police and charged with driving under the influence of a narcotic, possession of marijuana and reckless operation. The passenger was also arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana.
Later that afternoon, the same ranger responded to a call regarding two “pocket bikes” (small motorcycles) being operated on and off park road surfaces within the Pine Grove Picnic Area. As the ranger was arriving, the “pocket bikes” quickly exited the park into oncoming traffic. Two lanes of traffic were affected and vehicles had to take avoidance maneuvers to prevent collisions. The ranger was able to get the “pocket bikes” to stop a short distance later. One of the two adult drivers was belligerent and was unable to produce positive identification. County police were summoned for assistance. The man continued to be belligerent and refused to provide positive information, leading to his arrest by the ranger. Several violation notices were issued to the other man, who had identification. Further investigation revealed that the belligerent man had been recently released from prison and was currently on parole for identity theft and credit card fraud. The man also had non-extraditable warrants from another state out against him. The judge held the man without bail, pending a revocation of parole hearing.
All four of the arrested suspects now have May court dates.