By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A man who drunkenly fought park rangers and security guards in Yellowstone National Park earlier this month pleaded guilty to his offenses this week in U.S. District Court.
Kyle F. Campbell, 31, of Fairmont, Indiana pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from an incident in the park on June 21. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a five-year term of unsupervised probation and banned from Yellowstone for five years.
He was also ordered to pay $1,550 in fines and a $50 special assessment fee.
Campbell pleaded guilty to several criminal charges: disorderly conduct; threatening, resisting, and intentionally interfering with a government employee; violating the lawful order of a government employee; being under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance to a degree that may endanger oneself or others; and contempt of court for refusing to comply with Magistrate Judge Mark Carman’s warrant to collect a blood sample.
“We understand that people are eager to get out this summer and enjoy our national parks; however, this type of behavior is unacceptable. Thanks to the quick actions taken by park rangers and the park vendor’s security officers, no one was seriously harmed,” said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. “Stay sober, because unruly and intoxicated behavior will only earn you a spot with the jailbirds rather than enjoying the beauty and adventure of Yellowstone.”
According to court documents, around 5:45 p.m. on June 21, a Yellowstone ranger received a report of disorderly conduct occurring at the Grant Marina. Four people had been denied access to their kayak tour by their tour guide because of intoxication.
Campbell, who was part of the group, allegedly became agitated and hostile, according to an affidavit filed in support of the charges, yelling at the tour guide and making threats.
The group left the scene in a silver minivan towing a trailer. Law enforcement began looking for the group within the park.
A few minutes later, there was a report an incident at the Grant Helispot between Campbell (dressed only in sweatpants and socks) and a security guard. The location of the incident was in an employee RV court in an area clearly marked for employees only.
When a ranger arrived, Campbell put his hands into the air, claiming he did nothing wrong and the security guard was lying. He also kept making threatening gestures toward the security guard, which caused the ranger to detain him, the affidavit said.
Campbell continued to repeat he did nothing wrong, and the ranger noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the man. Campbell confirmed he had been drinking that day and only could say he “had a lot.”
The security guard said he had seen Campbell driving the silver minivan without the trailer. When he told Campbell to drive slower in the area, Campbell flipped him off.
As they kept talking, Campbell got increasingly agitated, getting within a foot of the security guard and making comments about assaulting him, the affidavit said.
Campbell also refused to comply with the ranger’s requests to stay put and stop moving while the security guard was being interviewed. He was then placed inside the ranger’s vehicle.
While the ranger asked the security guard if Campbell could have been driving under the influence, Campbell began to bang his head against the law enforcement vehicle. He was told to stop, which he did momentarily, but then resumed.
After being removed from the car and placed on the ground, Campbell began to refer to the ranger and security guard using racist and homophobic slurs, according to the affidavit.
Campbell attempted to scoot and roll toward the security guard, and the ranger ultimately placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct.
In a search of the silver minivan, officers found empty alcohol and marijuana containers.
He also banged his head against the pavement, injuring his nose and causing it to bleed. He continued to resist detainment and paramedics taking him to the hospital in Livingston, Montana, ultimately leading to him being sedated.