Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Park Ranger’s Life Lessons – Think Twice About That Tattoo

Tattoos have become common in our society.  Movie stars, athletes, gang members, military personnel, and ordinary people at times cover their bodies with skin art.  At times some perhaps do not put enough time and thought in designing their body ink.

A few years ago one of the Park Rangers I worked with had a pickup truck pass him going the opposite direction at a high rate of speed.  The Ranger turned and attempted to stop the truck.  Rather slowing or stopping, as most people would do, the driver attempted to evade capture.  The closer the Park Ranger got the faster the pickup moved out.  The pursuer backed off to prevent a collision that could be caused by pushing the escape suspect to their driving skill limits.

The pickup driver then left the Parkway squealing tires off a ramp onto a winding state road.  The pursuing Ranger, then joined by another Park Ranger, continued to follow the pickup down the hair pin turn and tight switch back road losing sight of the vehicle. 
Both Rangers rounded a curve to find the pickup they had been attempting to stop in a ditch.  The driver’s door opened, the driver exited the vehicle and ran into the woods.

As required by pursuit policy, as the supervisor I received a telephone call to inform me of the incident.  I was told that the suspect was John Jones (name changed to protect the guilty).

“So you have the subject in custody?”


“The vehicle is registered to him?”  Which does not prove the registered owner was driving?


“You already know him from a previous contact and recognized him?”


“Okay, so how can you prove who he is?”

“Well he wasn’t wearing a shirt.”

“So……what does that have to do with it?”

“Well…he had his name tattooed in big letters across his back at the top of his shoulders.”

Later when John Jones was located at his girlfriend’s residence and asked to remove his shirt he did indeed have his own name tattooed in large distinctive letters across his back.  He also had a revoked driver’s license which is why he would not stop and he admitted to having a couple beers before being seen by the Park Ranger.

Lesson Learned – think through those tattoo plans.  Whatever you decide on will be with you for life.  Or at least keep your shirt on.


  1. I don't like wearing the same color nail polish for more than a couple weeks at a time - can't imagine ALWAYS having the same thing FOREVER. A permanent solution to a temporary thought. Illogical.

  2. As my wonderful son-in-law would say, "No tattos where the Judge can see them." At least wear a shirt when you're being stupid!

  3. or just do not put yourself in a high speed chase and then try to run away with out a shirt on when you have distinctive markings on your body that will give you away... let me refine that to "don't break the law."

  4. ..or just don't run away from an officer or Ranger if you are instructed to pull over.