Man who trespassed on Old Faithful banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A man who was captured on video walking into Old Faithful back in September has been banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
On Thursday, Gabriel Villalva, 27, of Greeley, Colorado, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and foot traffic on a thermal area in Yellowstone Park. He was also sentenced to five years of unsupervised probation. During his probation, Villalva will not be allowed to enter either park, according to court documents.
In the video captured on Sept. 14, a Yellowstone official can be heard shouting, “This is the Park Service. Get on the boardwalk!”
Villalva apparently ignored the request. He lay down on his stomach, inches away from death, and stared into the world-famous geyser.
“We take these cases very seriously,” Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk told EastIdahoNews.com in September. “The law requires people to stay on boardwalks or marked trails in thermal areas. Anyone who ignores this law risks their life and possibly the lives of emergency personnel.”
A second video surfaced afterward showing Villalva doing the same thing at the Beryl Spring in Yellowstone on the same day. Later that week, Villalva was arrested again after he lead police officers in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on a wild chase through town.
The Cheyenne Police Department reports officers initiated a traffic stop, but Villalva refused to pull over. The pursuit went around a park and continued onto a golf course. He struck a police car in the pursuit shortly after spike strips were deployed. While the vehicle was stopped, he continued to rev the engine and the vehicle became engulfed in fire, police say.
Officers had to use beanbag rounds to remove Villalva from the burning car and place him into custody. He was arrested and charged for DUI, fleeing and eluding, destruction of property, reckless driving, and aggravated assault.
Villalva waived his preliminary hearing in relation to that crime this week. He remains jailed on $10,000 bond.