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California man sentenced for drunken ordeal in Yellowstone National Park

9 months in prison
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Posted at 8:25 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 10:25:49-05

A California man was sentenced to nine months in jail and nearly $3,000 in fines for drunkenly harassing guests at Lake Yellowstone Hotel in Yellowstone National Park and fighting with park police last fall.

U.S. Attorney Bob Murray said Wednesday that Benjamin J. Bagala, 27 of Santa Rosa, California, pleaded guilty to four federal charges related to the Sept. 25, 2021, incident.

Murray said in a news release that Bagala was drinking heavily and began harassing guests, running through the halls, breaking things and threatening a security guard at the hotel.

A law enforcement officer was called, and Bagala attacked, forcing the officer to Tase him, according to Murray.

Two more officers arrived to take Bagala in an ambulance to a hospital in Livingston for treatment of various he suffered through the night during the entire ordeal, according to Murray.

Bagala was restrained in the back of the ambulance, but he broke through and started fighting one officer. The other had to stop the ambulance to assists. Both officers were injured during the altercation, according to Murray.

Bagala was ordered to pay $2,865.42 in damages at the hotel, which included broken plexiglass shields, broken plates, broken doors and frames, damaged light fixtures, and blood splatter throughout the halls and lobby, according to Murray. He was also fined a $100 special assessment.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman sentenced to nine months in prison with four days credit for time served, and one year supervised release. He was banned from Yellowstone National Park and is not allowed to use alcohol or enter bars.