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Sheriff’s Office responds to off-duty lieutenant’s on-field tackle

Official thought belt was knife or sheath
By: Martha Garcia Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX – A shirtless, 26-year-old man who walked onto the field at Marson Stadium Friday night – disrupting the football game between the Colfax High Falcons and the Placer Hillmen – was himself tackled to the ground before being arrested for disorderly conduct. Patrick Hurley was identified by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office as the intruder who came out of the bushes, jumped the fence surrounding the football field and wandered onto the field. At the game watching his son Stone Sander play for the Placer High team was off-duty Lt. Troy Minton-Sander, of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, who first walked and then ran onto the field to subdue Hurley. Hurley, of the Colfax area, had walked onto the field and picked up the football during the second quarter. Sgt. Ty Conners, commander of the sheriff’s station in Colfax, said the incident happened within “probably 10 seconds. A large male, acting irrational, who might have a weapon, is on a field with kids. … He had to do something in order to protect the kids.” Conners said that Hurley was wearing a belt that to Minton-Sander appeared to be a knife or a sheath. Conners said that even though other off-duty officers also stepped forward later to help, at the time Minton-Sander noticed Hurley was by himself and Minton-Sander determined the best technique to use was to tackle Hurley to the ground and wait until help arrived. It took “five to six experienced law enforcement officers to control this guy, in order to handcuff him,” Conners said. Minton-Sander, said Conners, “was off duty, on his own, putting himself in danger to subdue the subject. He did an outstanding job.” Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Mark Reed said that as a law enforcement officer, Minton-Sander had also noticed that as cold as it was outside, Hurley was not wearing a shirt. “It’s an indication to law enforcement that he could be under the influence of some dangerous drugs,” Reed said. Reed said Hurley was charged with disorderly conduct/drunk in public. Even though he was not tested, Reed said Hurley’s demeanor and “objective symptoms” indicated he was under the influence. Reed said Hurley was released Saturday morning with the promise to appear in court. Judi Cowart-Anderson was at Friday’s football game watching her two grandsons play for the Falcon teams. She saw Hurley, whom she described as “half-dressed and pants that looked like they weren’t pulled up,” go on the field. “He had to be on something,” she said. “It took five to six involved trying just to get him down … They did not use too much force in getting him off the field.” Cowart-Anderson feels the incident should never have happened. “Somebody had to know him and know that he was taking something or on something to make him act like this,” she said. Rob Hitchcock, a Colfax High assistant principal and athletic director, said Hurley gained access to the field on the visitor side of the football field. Hitchcock said Hurley was observed “acting weird” before he flopped over the fence on the Placer side of the field. “He didn't come through the front gate, where the ticket booth is, in that condition,” Hitchcock said. “If we notice someone stumbling around, we have security measures in place.” “We have a series of gates that funnel (the public) to ticket booths,” Hitchcock said. “We have another series of barriers and gates that are manned by our faculty/staff members. Beyond that the field is circled by the fence.” The fence on the visitors’ side, at the backside of the field, is locked but not patrolled as much, and that’s “probably where he got in,” he said. Law enforcement is trained to make decisions about how to handle sensitive situations, “and we respect the decision they made.” Hitchcock said. “They’ve got great training and recognize a dangerous scenario. It could have been very devastating.” Gold Country Media’s Matthew Kimel contributed to this report. ---------- For images of the aftermath of Minton-Sander tackling Hurley to the ground and the efforts of six men to subdue him, visit our photo gallery "Man wanders on field, gets tackled." ----------