An empty car rolled down the Buffalo overpass with a flat tire on April 12 and the owner denied any responsibility, prosecutors said in court Thursday.
The owner, Ryan Gabel, 23, appeared before Lincoln County Judge Kent Turnbull. Gabel denied any knowledge but investigators pinned him to the car and he pled guilty to false reporting.
Gabel was also charged with procuring alcohol for a minor, but that charge was dismissed because the Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Jennifer Wellan felt the county attorney's office had a weak case due to lack of witnesses.
Officers spotted a vehicle rolling down the Buffalo viaduct unoccupied, with a flat tire. Gabel left the scene as officers approached and later claimed to know nothing about it, Wellan said.
The vehicle turned out to belong to Gabel. When questioned, he claimed he was not driving.
In court, Turnbull told Gabel he is not a stranger.
ďI would hammer you on the procuring charge," Turnbull said, ďhad the county attorney been able to present a stronger case.Ē
Gabel has a lengthy prior record of alcohol-related offenses. Because of that, Turnbull levied a $200 fine for false reporting -- double the normal fine of $100 for false reporting. And, Turnbull told Gabel if he appears before him again, especially for an alcohol-related charges, he would be sentenced to jail.
Gabelís past offenses stretch back several years. He has been jailed in Lincoln County seven times since February 2010, according to county records.
His charges third-degree assault, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing to avoid arrest.
He did five months for those charges.
According to police Lt. Rich Thompson, on Aug. 26 Gabel was at a small party in the 1300 block of E. 12th. After the party broke up and everyone left, Gabel returned around 3 a.m., threw the female resident on the bed and restrained her. The woman told police that Gabel bit her neck and touched her in a sexual manner through her clothing. Gabel fled in his Chevy Camaro when he spotted the officers. Police pursued for a short distance and then, because of the dangers to the public, terminated pursuit, but found Gabel a little later near the victimís home. He was charged with sexual assault, third degree assault, DUI and fleeing. According to Lincoln County Sheriffs records, it was Gabelís second DUI arrest in just three days.
Gabelís attorney, Martin Troshynski, said at the time that Gabel was admitted to in-patient alcohol treatment prior to the trial but was unsuccessfully discharged.