Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - Updated: 9:58 AM
By Venita Fritz
A Marshall County woman was arrested Sunday after firing shots at and narrowly missing one of several ATV riders on her property on Salem Chapel Road near Fairdealing.
Bonita Walker, 56, was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment, 1st degree and criminal mischief 2nd degree. She was taken to the Marshall County Detention Center and released on Monday morning after posting a $2,500 cash bond.
Deputies with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident after receiving a call that an on-going situation was taking place in a field off Salem Chapel Road. According to a citation filed by Deputy Chris Greenfield, ATV riders were riding in an area with permission of another landowner and had crossed onto adjoining property owned by Walker. During the incident, Walker is alleged to have fired multiple rounds at the ATVs and pointed a gun at the riders. One round is alleged to have missed one of the riders by two inches.
Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars said Walker has filed complaints about ATV riders on her property on other occasions and has brandished a weapon before, but it has never escalated to shots being fired. He said the outcome could have been deadly.
The incident in Fairdealing comes on the heels of ongoing complaints regarding ATV use in the Hardin area. The Sheriff’s Office and Hardin Mayor Randal Scott have scheduled a public forum on Monday night, Feb. 27 to discuss reaching a compromise between complainants and ATV users. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Hardin Community Building at 50 High School Street.
Byars said he plans to use the weekend incident in Fairdealing as an example of how not to handle similar situations.
“I’m going to use this as a teaching point of how not to handle things like this.” said Byars. I certainly understand the frustration, but this is just not the way to take things into your own hands.”
Byars said ATV riders crossing onto property which they do not have the owner’s permission to be on is a common problem.
In an article in last week’s Tribune-Courier, Byars indicated a number of complaints come from landowners of farm ground who are being harmed economically by damage caused by ATVs. He said even after crops are harvested, the ground has to be prepared for the next season and when a rider comes through and tears that up, it causes the need to redo work that has already been done. Byars said this is the issue which seems to have caused the incident Sunday in Fairdealing.