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A Fairbanks man pleaded guilty to “one count of Protection of Fish and Game and one count of Oil Pollution for putting his car in the Chena River,” AST revealed this week.
While 29-year-old Mario Bruce was initially sentenced to 60 days in jail and a $10,000 fine, the jail sentence was suspended as was $5,000 of that $10,000 fine, but Bruce still garnered three years probation and must pay restitution for car removal and DEC cleanup.
It was on September 3rd that AST was notified of a vehicle dumped in the Chena River. When investigated, an older model brown sedan was found partially submerged in the river 30 feet from the riverbank. Oil was detected leaking from the submerged vehicle.
Because oil was detected, the Department of Environmental Conservation was contacted and responded. they contained the leaking oil in the water and onshore.
Incident responsibility was turned over to Alaska Wildlife Troopers and because the license plate was not visible on the submerged vehicle, underwater cameras were utilized and captured the vehicle identification information.
Using that information, the owner, Bruce, was tracked down in Florida. He was issued a summons and when contacted, on September 6th, admitted to having dumped the vehicle in the river. He was given a mandatory court date of October 1st to answer the summons of polluting an anadromous stream and failing to give notification.
Authorities removed the vehicle from the river and towed it from the scene.
The Fairbanks court ordered Bruce to apply for a PFD until all costs are paid.