Nasty behavior leads to jail time for Yellowstone visitor

It’s nine months in prison for a Yellowstone National Park visitor who drunkenly assaulted visitors, staff and law-enforcement officers while causing plenty of physical damage at Lake Yellowstone Hotel on September 25, 2021.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Benjamin Bagala, 27, of Santa Rosa, Cal. pleaded guilty and was sentenced for three counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of depredation against property of the United States during the Sept. 25 incident. He appeared via Zoom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, with credit served for four days and must surrender on or before March 4, 2022. He also received one year supervised release with special conditions that include a ban from Yellowstone National Park; he shall not use or possess alcohol, shall not enter into bars, pubs, lounges, etc., and will continue with alcohol treatment as approved by the probation officer. Bagala was ordered to pay $2,865.42 in restitution and $100 special assessment.

According to the complaint, Bagala was drinking heavily and began harassing guests, running through the halls, breaking things and eventually approached a security guard with threatening behavior. A law enforcement officer was called to the scene where Bagala’s action continued to progress and escalated to an attack on the officer. This law enforcement officer had to deploy his taser to safely gain control. Bagala was extremely intoxicated and displayed injuries from earlier activities, so an ambulance was called. Two additional law enforcement officers arrived to transport Bagala to the Livingston Hospital in Montana. One of the officers rode in the back to restrain him during transport. Bagala broke out of his restraints and fought with the officer. The other officer, driving the ambulance, had to pull over and assist. During this time, both officers received injuries from Bagala’s actions. 

Lake Yellowstone Hotel reported $2,865.42 in damages including broken plexiglass shields, broken plates, broken doors and frames, damaged light fixtures, and blood splatter throughout the halls and lobby.

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