An ATV driver rammed a state park vehicle during patrols to stop illegal off-roading in Shoreham’s pine barrens, sending the park ranger flying off his own all terrain vehicle, authorities said Monday.
Elias Genovese, 38, of Mastic, was arraigned Monday on second-degree assault, third-degree possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree criminal trespassing.
He was part of a group joy riding through the woods off Route 25A about 6:45 p.m. Sunday when he was ordered to stop by rangers, who were on the special enforcement patrol with sheriffs and state police, said Michael Sharkey, chief of staff at the Suffolk sheriff’s office.
Two others on an ATV and a motorbike took off, but Genovese used his “considerably larger ATV” as a weapon, Sharkey said.
“This fellow decided that maybe it would be a good idea to run his ATV into the park ranger’s, for some reason, I guess to assist in his evading capture,” Sharkey said.
The ranger was treated for neck and back pain at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center and released, authorities said.
Genovese left the scene, but his passenger, Salvatore Leone, 41, of Shirley, pulled the key out of the vehicle, authorities said. “The passenger intervened and had some common sense,” Sharkey said. “He was yelling at him to stop.”
Leone was charged with third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, and was issued a desk appearance ticket.
Genovese was released Monday after posting a $20,000 bond bail, authorities said. He could not be reached Monday night for comment and it was not clear whether he had an attorney.
ATV off-roading in the pine barrens has been a problem, and authorities have been mounting regular patrols for years to stop vehicles from tearing up the bicycle and walking trails, Sharkey said.
“If you’re trying to go on a hike in the pine barrens, it’s dangerous for you,” he said. “You could wind up getting hit by an ATV. A lot of people mountain bike in the pine barrens and these things rut up the trail and the next thing you know, you’re going flying over your handlebars because they’re ruining the trails in the woods.”
People can report illegal ATV use in the pine barrens 24 hours a day by calling 800-BARRENS, which is staffed by the sheriff’s office.