California Man Accused Attacking Yellowstone Ranger; Had To Be Tased
A drunken assault on a Yellowstone Park Ranger at a hotel ended with the assailant having to be tased, documents filed in federal court allege.
Benjamin J. Bagala is charged with three counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees along with a single count of depredation against any property of the United States.
He faces up to 34 years behind bars and $1 million in fines if convicted of all charges.
According to a criminal complaint, park rangers were called to the Lake Hotel at roughly 11 p.m. September 25 for a report that an intoxicated guest was outside "howling" and approaching a security guard in a "threatening manner."
The guest, later identified as Bagala, also reportedly removed a fire extinguisher from its holder while continuing to follow security.
Court documents state when the first ranger arrived, Bagala walked quickly toward him. When the ranger attempted to grab Bagala's arm, Bagala allegedly grabbed the ranger's radio microphone and pulled it so hard that it ripped his radio holster and tore the cable.
At that point, court documents state, the ranger used his taser on Bagala, who fell to the ground. A struggle ensued before Bagala was placed in handcuffs.
Because of his level of intoxication and because he was tased, Bagala was belted into an ambulance as crews attempted to transport him to a hospital in Livingston, Montana.
But roughly 10 minutes into the transport, Bagala removed the seatbelt across his lap and then undid his chest/shoulder belt. He also began to "manipulate" his handcuffs.
Bagala then began struggling with a US Park Ranger in the back of the ambulance and threatened to fight him.
Another park ranger, who was driving the ambulance, stopped the ambulance to assist. When the second park ranger made it to the back of the ambulance, Bagala reportedly kicked him in the head twice.
Eventually, a paramedic in the back of the ambulance was able to chemically sedate Bagala, but not before Bagala spit into their mouth, court documents state.
Meanwhile, at the hotel, park rangers reportedly observed two broken plexiglass shields on the floor, blood splattered on the floor, walls, staircase and ceiling throughout the lobby, a pile of six to eight broken plates on the floor of the hotel dining room, a broken door and frame at the rear of the dining room, three broken ceiling light fixtures on the first floor, broken or damaged wall light fixtures, a kicked-in door with a destroyed frame to an unoccupied room and a damaged door to an occupied room.
Investigators further write that there was also blood around several door handles.