California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members and State Parks Rangers Vince Burke and Jacqui Burke were two of the three rangers who busted a man on drug charges in Santa Nella January 8, 2014.
The rangers had completed night range training at San Luis Reservoir and were returning to Columbia when they stopped at a restaurant in Santa Nella. In the parking lot, the rangers observed a driver slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle with its engine running. When Ranger Vince Burke approached the vehicle to check on the driver, he saw hypodermic needles and bongs on the front passenger seat. He also discovered, upon opening the driver door, wires hanging from the dashboard and the ignition switch missing. The 25-year-old driver confessed he was on oxycotin and heroin and had just “shot up” moments before. When rangers searched the driver, they discovered a hypodermic needle. In a search of the car, they then discovered several pounds of marijuana, three balls of hashish and drug paraphernalia.
“I don’t want to imagine what might have happened if this suspect decided to embark upon Interstate 5 under the influence of narcotics where vehicles are flying by at 70-plus miles per hour,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “There’s no telling what dangerous crime or crash may have happened had the park rangers not observed this subject and conducted a welfare check. I am grateful for their actions and their professionalism in protecting Californians. Whether it’s in a park or a parking lot, they play a vital role in keeping Californians safe.”