WEST GREENWICH — RI State Police are investigating the circumstances leading to an environmental police officer firing his weapon after a Coventry man assaulted him while dirt biking at Big River Management Area at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
DEM has charged Austin DiPeitro, 22, of 14 Clover Drive, Coventry, with one count of assaulting a police officer, one count of obstructing a police officer in execution of duty, one count of failure to stop or move on an oral command of an environmental police officer, and one count of reckless driving in an attempt to elude an officer – first offense.
Also arrested in connection with the incident were Jonathan C. Maaz, 23, of 51 Montcalm Road in Warwick, and Tyler Perry, 24, of Lane 4, Warwick.
Maaz was charged with one count of obstructing a police officer, one count of failure to stop or move on command of an officer, and one count of eluding an officer – first offense. He was released on personal recognizance bail.
Perry was charged with one count of obstruction and released on a summons to appear.
DiPeitro, Maaz, and Perry all were charged with civil violations related to parks rules and regulations.
The assault occurred near the Reynolds Pond access gate at Big River. The EPO was taken by ambulance to Kent County Hospital.
Following the use-of-deadly force protocol established by the Office of Attorney General, the Rhode Island State Police are leading the investigation into the incident.
DEM is responsible for managing the 8,000-acre parcel, which is owned by the RI Water Resources Board. Under state regulations, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles are prohibited in state management areas – unless allowed through a special use permit – because they can cause ecological damage.