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Bizarre Bison Incident Ends Up in Jail Time

A bizarre string of events that saw misconduct at Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, including a dangerous taunting of a bison, ended in a guilty plea at Yellowstone Justice Center yesterday.

Raymond Reinke, 55, from Pendleton, Oregon, was set for trial on a variety of charges. He pleaded guilty to four charges in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The charge of under the influence of alcohol on July 28 in Grand Teton and a disorderly conduct charge on July 31 in Yellowstone were dismissed.

Here’s the incident:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carmen accepted the terms of the plea agreement for the Class B misdemeanors. Sentencing included:

  • 130 days of incarceration
  • $70 in court fees and assessments, with no additional fines incurred
  • 5 years of unsupervised probation
  • Alcohol and bar ban
  • Substance abuse evaluation and successful treatment if required by the evaluation
  • Alcohol testing upon reasonable suspicion
  • Submit to searching for alcohol and/or controlled substances upon reasonable suspicion

Additionally, the U.S. Magistrate added as a condition of Reinke’s probation a five-year ban from entering Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Glacier National Park, where the incidents and subsequent warrant arrest occurred on August 2.

“The judge’s decision today reinforces the park’s commitment toward protecting wildlife and other natural resources as well as our visiting public,” said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney. “We encourage everyone to commit to stewardship of our public lands while enjoying our national parks and respecting the experiences of others.”

On August 8, Reinke pleaded not guilty to charges in Yellowstone National Park that included disturbing wildlife, disorderly conduct, and carrying an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. Additionally, charges in Grand Teton National Park included being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that endangers self or other, interfering with agency functions/resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace, which resulted in an arrest and ultimately a revocation of bond conditions.

During sentencing, Reinke argued that he was just trying to help, per the Bozeman Chronicle:

Reinke said Thursday that he got out of his car that day because he thought the long line of stopped cars in the Hayden Valley meant someone was hurt. He wanted to help.

He was surprised when he saw a bison was the reason for the traffic jam, he said, and he thought it needed to be herded off the road.

“I thought I was doing what was appropriate,” Reinke said. “I just didn’t think. That’s my stupidity.”

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