When you fall off the horse, you gotta get right back in the saddle. Or in Bob Clark’s case, when you get run over by a motorcycle, you gotta hike right back to the scene of the crime.
Last weekend, Clark, conservation organizer with the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club, led 10 hikers on an annual three-day trek into the Great Burn proposed wilderness on the Idaho/Montana border. Monday, July 30, marked the one-year anniversary of the day when Clark, leading the same trip a year ago, was run down by a motorcycle while trying to photograph the illegal off-road riding.
According to Clearwater County District Court records, Timothy D. Turner of Stevensville was scheduled to appear in an Idaho courtroom July 30 on aggravated assault charges for his alleged role in the incident. (Turner’s attorney petitioned the court to have the arraignment moved to Aug. 21, the date of the Turner’s preliminary hearing).
Forest Service Law Enforcement officials identified Turner, Thomas D. Peterson of Missoula and Dennis R. Ruana of Florence as the riders spotted by Clark in the area closed to motorized vehicles. Turner and Peterson are also accused of making false statements to a Forest Service investigator.
Turner is charged with aggravated assault, a felony, and could face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. According to an investigative report, Turner was the “lead motorcycle rider” who allegedly ran Clark down.
Clark declined to comment on the case other than to say, “We look forward to seeing the criminal justice system play out.”
For his part, Turner denies having anything to do with the incident, and says he wasn’t even in Idaho at the time it occurred.
“They’ve got the wrong people,” he says.
E. Clayne Tyler, the prosecuting attorney in the case, said it was Clark’s blurry photo of the attacker popping a wheelie right before he struck the hikers that led authorities to Turner.
No one spotted motorcycles on last weekend’s outing.