N.C. House legislators want to define a new type of crime in state law after a February incident in which someone left spikes on park trails, injuring two runners.
The incident happened at Pinnacle Park in Sylva, a small Jackson County town west of Asheville. After a runner’s foot was impaled on a spike, and another spike punctured someone’s shoe, the park was closed while police and volunteers searched 18 miles of trails for more spikes that had been inserted in tree roots. More than 60 spikes were found, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.
Rep. John Bradford, a Mecklenburg County Republican, said Tuesday that the spikes should be considered “domestic terrorism.” His bill would create a misdemeanor offense for anyone “who willfully and maliciously sets a trap in a public park for the purpose of injuring another person.” The crime would be a felony if someone was injured, or if the trap was “camouflaged or concealed.”
Bradford’s bill includes a broad definition for “trap,” including “explosive devices attached to trip wires,” “sharpened stakes, nails or spikes,” electrical devices, and devices that produce toxic fumes or gases.
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“We have no statutes on the books in North Carolina to look at anything like this in our state parks,” Bradford said.
The bill passed the House unanimously on Tuesday night. No arrests have yet been made in the Sylva trail spike case.