A Pennsylvania trooper and a game officer accidentally bulldozed a suspected cannabis grower during a hot pursuit through a field. The USA’s largest marijuana advocacy group has questioned police tactics after the tragic death.
The bizarre and tragic incident unfolded on Monday morning when a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, operating a bulldozer, noticed a car parked in a field on the game lands of Penn Township. After detecting an “unusual activity” by two men, the state employee called the police.
When reinforcements arrived the two suspects tried fleeing the scene. Officers managed to capture 54-year-old David Brook Light, from Sinking Spring. The other man, Gregory A. Longenecker, 51, from Reading, attempted to escape through the field.
Police called-in a chopper to locate the fugitive in the thick underbrush, and then used the bulldozer to pursue the suspect. However, unable to clearly see Longenecker, they accidentally ran him over.
“The Game Commission employee and a Trooper were on the bulldozer driving through the thick underbrush. The bulldozer stopped in the underbrush. The second male was located under the rear of the bulldozer, deceased,” Trooper David Beohm told lehighvalleylive.com
Beohm also told reporters that it “is so thick up there, there is no way that you could see someone lying in there.”
Police later discovered a plot with 10 marijuana plants hidden in the field and booked Light, the first suspect, on marijuana manufacturing charges. He was later freed on $25,000 unsecured bail.
The incident sparked strong criticism from the USA’s largest Marijuana advocacy group. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) questioned the reasoning behind the pursuit of Longenecker in the first place, considering the relatively small quantity of cannabis involved.
“It is inconceivable to me that a man lost his life during an investigation of a very small grow,” said Patrick Nightingale, Executive Director of Pittsburgh NORML. “The heavy-handed tactics employed cannot be justified by the seizure of ten plants.”
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