By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A man accused of threatening to kill a U.S. Forest Service employee in the Shoshone National Forest and tearing the door handle off of the man’s vehicle could face up to 11 years in prison.
Josiah Jurich, who was arrested by Park County officials on Aug. 20 on the Beartooth Highway, has been charged in federal court with threatening a federal law enforcement officer and damaging federal property.
According to an affidavit by an investigator, a Forest Service employee, identified only as D.S., was driving a U.S. Forest Service truck and was stopped at construction on U.S. Highway 212 near Cody. Jurich’s pickup truck was stopped behind the truck driven by D.S.
When D.S. reached out of the vehicle to move a traffic cone out of the lane of traffic, Jurich jumped out of his pickup, walked up to the Forest Service vehicle and accused D.S. of making “hand gestures.”
“Jurich continued to yell and approach the truck,” the affidavit said. “D.S. locked the doors and rolled up the window because Jurich attempted to open his door by pulling on the handle.”
D.S. drove about 30 yards away from the area and was followed by Jurich, who then got out of his pickup truck and tried to open the passenger door to the truck driven by D.S.
“Jurich pulled with such force that the exterior passenger door handle came off the door,” the affidavit said.
Jurich then used the door handle to hit the vehicle’s windows, yelling “I’ll kill you next time” and “I’ll f——g kill you,” according to witnesses.“When he said he wanted to kill me, I believed it,” D.S. told investigators.
As bystanders calmed Jurich, he told them he was “sick of the government shooting bullets over his head.”
After getting back into his truck and driving away from the scene, Jurich was arrested by a Park County Sheriff’s deputy.
If convicted, Jurich faces a sentence of up to 10 years on the charge of threatening a federal law enforcement officer and another year for damaging U.S. property.