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Press Release

El Dorado County Man Sentenced for Attack on Park Ranger

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nicholas Martin Coberley, 45, of Pollock Pines, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to 27 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for assault on a federal employee with a deadly weapon, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on June 20, 2016, Coberley attacked a Lassen Volcanic National Park ranger who had been called out to investigate reports of a man walking in the middle of the road at 9:00 p.m., yelling loudly. When the ranger approached, Coberley jumped into the back of the ranger’s truck, grabbed a firefighting tool, and began hitting the truck’s passenger compartment with the tool, causing more than $2,000 in damage to the roof and windshield. Moments later, Coberley smashed out the rear window with an axe, climbed into the passenger compartment, and put the ranger in a chokehold. At that point, Coberley swung an axe at the ranger’s head from behind while the truck was in motion. The ranger was able to speak calmly with Coberley and defused the situation. Coberley returned to his residence near the park’s boundary and was arrested later without incident.

This case was the product of an investigation by the National Parks Service and the Plumas County District Attorney's Office with assistance from the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. 

Lassen Volcanic National Park Chief Ranger John Fish stated: “The National Park Service would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Plumas County District Attorney’s Office for their support in the successful prosecution of Mr. Coberly. Visitor and employee safety is of paramount importance to the National Park Service. We would further like to thank the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and the CHP in helping resolve the situation with no injuries of significance to park visitors or our employee.”

Updated April 30, 2021

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 2:16-cr-159 JAM