Man pays for plowing into eagles

An Oregon man who willfully drove his truck through a convocation of eagles last summer – killing two – was sentenced this month by an Unalaska judge.

A bald eagle on the roof of the PCR. (Photo courtesy of John Ryan)
A bald eagle on the roof of the PCR. (Photo courtesy of John Ryan)

Alaska wildlife troopers issued 29-year-old Dennis C. Thompson a citation last June after a hit and run investigation. The charge was illegal taking of game.

According to a state dispatch log entry on June 11, 2015, Thompson was accused of “using a motorized vehicle to harass and/or molest game by accelerating a Ford truck through several bald eagles that were feeding on the roadway.” The incident happened on Summer Bay Road near the Unalaska landfill.

Bald eagles are protected under federal law. Unalaska Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley said that in Unalaska, it’s common for residents to have run-ins with the birds.

“We do have a number of incidents every year, people report that eagles have struck their vehicle while they are driving down the road, totally unintentionally,” Shockley said. “So it’s not that eagles being hit by cars is particularly unusual, but the intentional part of it is what sets this apart.”

Last week, Thompson pled guilty at the Unalaska District Court. He was fined $1000, half of which was suspended, and he was place on probation for a year. The judge also ordered him to pay $3400 in restitution to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.

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