booby trapDr. Jackson Dempsey, an Oregon psychiatrist, plead guilty last Wednesday to booby trapping a bike trail near his home in the Ashland area. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail due to injuries that 3 mountain bikers had sustained. He has not admitted to exactly why he planted the traps, but the leading theory is that he used that path to walk his dog and was irritated by the mountain bikers that would race by him.

None of the booby traps were considered fatal, which is why the jail time is limited. Most of the traps included nylon cords strung over the path, and nails and small trees blocking the cyclists route. The local riders continually cleared the traps, but when they kept reappearing police intervened and caught Dempsey near the traps possibly repairing them. While the jail time may be nominal, included in the plea bargain was a court order that prohibits him from using national forest trails for 2 years. “It was a good resolution that met the needs of the cycling community,” said Deputy District Attorney Alisa Ray.

Dempsey has since apologized to the bikers, his family, and the mental health community at large.

People from this area might be reminded of a similar story occurring closer to home on a trail in Provo canyon. Where 2 men set up much more potentially deadly traps including the image above, where a 20 lb boulder covered in sharpened stakes was set to swing down at head level. Another was a rope designed to trip riders or runners into a bed of sharpened stakes. Luckily a forest service officer was patrolling and noticed a trip wire and they were discovered before anyone was injured. The 2 guilty men defended themselves saying they were targeting animals, but the height placement of the traps and the popular hiking location where they were found negated this argument. Either way it was reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor with which they were charged. They both received light jail time, lengthy probation, and significant fines.

While booby traps are inherently unusual, our family at Christensen and Hymas encourage you to always be careful and observant when hiking or biking in the woods. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or maliciousness, please visit us at our website.


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