Runner guilty of trespassing at Valley Forge during government shutdown
In October last year, a Delaware County marathoner sparked a protest after his car was ticketed while he ran through Valley Forge National Historical Park during the shutdown of the federal government. For a brief moment, John Bell, 54, of Chadds Ford, became a cause célèbre. Anumber of running groups rallied to his support with a “Patriot Run” to call attention to the park shutdown and the perceived injustice.
Bell contested the $100 ticket all the way to U.S. District Court.
This morning, Bell was convicted in a non-jury trial of parking in a closed area. U.S. District Judge Jacob Hart ordered Bell to pay the ticket.
According to park rangers, barricades were in place and closure signs were posted at the park on Oct. 6 and that Bell had to drive his car over grass or on a bike path to get to where he had parked. Ranger Michael Valora testified that rangers were ticketing the vehicle when Bell approached them and admitted he knew the park was closed, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.