A Monroeton man was remanded to the Bradford County Correctional Facility after being charged with assaulting a Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer, according to the agency’s Northeast Region office.
Steven Harold Neilson, 43, of Mountain Road, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault, two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children, one misdemeanor count of making terroristic threats, two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, one misdemeanor count of simple assault, two misdemeanor counts of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, and other crime and game code violations.
The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on the afternoon of June 7 in Overton Township, Bradford County. Wildlife Conservation Officer Jeffery Oleniacz was patrolling an area of State Game Lands 12 near Schrader Creek when he encountered several individuals operating all-terrain vehicles, (ATVs), utility-task vehicles (UTVs), and dirt bikes on a game lands road posted closed to motorized vehicles.
The vehicles scattered, but Oleniacz stopped one UTV and was interviewing the driver when Neilson returned to the scene and drove in circles near the officer while making verbal threats before driving away, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Neilson then allegedly returned and drove his UTV, with his daughter seated in the passenger seat, towards Oleniacz, accelerating and swerving towards the officer before striking him in the left arm. Neilson then fled the area.
Two search warrants were executed by wildlife conservation officers (WCOs) at separate locations and the UTV believed to have been driven by Neilson was seized as evidence.
Charges were filed by Luzerne County WCO David Allen and Neilson was arraigned at the office of Magisterial District Judge Fred Wheaton, Wysox. A cash bail of $10,000 was set and Neilson was remanded to the Bradford County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16, at the office of Magisterial District Judge Timothy Clark in Towanda.
WCO Oleniacz sustained an injury to his left arm that did not require medical attention.
“Our officers conduct regular patrols on state game lands to protect these valuable resources from abuse,” Game Commission Northeast Region Director Daniel Figured said. “Assaulting an officer with a motorized vehicle is a serious offense and persons committing this crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. This dangerous and reckless act put the safety of three persons at risk.”