Man Facing 11 Years After Allegedly Assaulting Forest Service Employee Near Yellowstone
An Arizona man could face up to 11 years behind bars after he allegedly nearly beat the window in on a Forest Service employee's vehicle near Yellowstone.
Josiah D. Jurich is charged with a single count each of making threats against a federal employee and causing injury or depredation to United States property.
According to a complaint filed in United States District Court for Wyoming, a forest service employee was stopped at a red light in a construction area along the Beartooth Highway at Clay Butte in a clearly marked US Forest Service vehicle. The employee, a technician who collects fees at Forest Service sites, was also wearing a tan uniform with a Forest Service shoulder patch and name tag.
The complaint states the employee rolled his window down and reached out to move a cone that was slightly in the lane of traffic. As he did so, a man (later identified as Jurich) was in a truck behind the employee's vehicle.
Jurich reportedly got out of his vehicle and aggressively approached the forest service vehicle. When Jurich reached the vehicle, he allegedly yelled, "Hey funny man, what's up with the hand gestures?"
According to the complaint, Jurich continued to yell and approach the Forest Service truck. The employee locked the doors and rolled up the windows as Jurich was attempting to open the door. Jurich allegedly struck the driver's side window.
At some point, the employee drove roughly 30 yards away onto a side road, which led to Jurich following him in his vehicle.
Court documents state the forest service employee felt Jurich was going to ram his vehicle.
Then, court documents state, Jurich again approached the forest service vehicle and began hitting the window while threatening to kill the employee. Witnesses told authorities they were surprised that Jurich did not break the window.
The employee reportedly told investigators of Jurich that, "When he said he wanted to kill me, I believed it."
Video taken from the assault reportedly shows Jurich holding a pistol and saying, "Look at this s---, they're f------- with me. They're shooting at me in the campsites."
Another witness told investigators that Jurich repeatedly made statements against the government and that he was, "Sick and tired of the government hassling (me)," and "Sick of the government shooting bullets over (my) head."
Court documents state Jurich also claimed the Forest Service employee was violating his oath as a government employee.
According to the complaint, Jurich eventually left westbound on US 212 toward Wyoming Highway 296. He reportedly told witnesses he was heading to Cody to file a police report.
Two cameras located in Jurich's vehicle reportedly show Jurich traveling east on US 212. At some point, Jurich says, "So this government employee decided to make a little f------ gesture in response to that video. I'm going to f--- his day up!"
After the incident, court documents state, Jurich is heard on one of the cameras stating, "the cops are looking for us," apparently to his dog.