DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
SPICEWOOD — A heads-up Spicewood resident prevented a man from allegedly dumping more than 50 tires in the Colorado River bed, officials said.
Lower Colorado River Authority Ranger Cpl. Ronny Bowman said he responded to a report of possible illegal dumping at the LCRA’s Narrows Recreation Area on CR 411 on May 2. When officers arrived, the found a man allegedly unloading old tires from a trailer into the dry river bed.
Authorities arrested 63-year-old Gary Norman Milton of Austin. He was booked into the Burnet County Jail on illegal dumping charges.
“We’re at a felony amount right now,” Bowman said in regard to the level of the charge. The ranger was going to take a final measurement May 3 to determine the total amount of tires the man allegedly was planning to leave behind.
“I would estimate the number already on the ground and in the trailer somewhere around 50,” Bowman said. “That doesn’t include those in the back of the pickup.”
If authorities hadn’t come across the man, the tires could have caused a major environmental issue for the river and Lake Travis as well as a safety matter for boaters and swimmers when the water level eventually rose.
“When you throw something like that in the river bed, it’s not going to go away,” Bowman said.
He credited a Spicewood resident to letting authorities know about the possible problem.
A person noticed the truck and trailer loaded with tires heading down the county road toward the recreational area. Realizing this was odd, the caller contacted the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office that then passed on the information to LCRA.
“We just happened to be in the area when they contacted us,” Bowman said. When he arrived on the scene, Bowman said he found several tires already in the river bed and the man in the trailer allegedly preparing to unload more.
“The community of Spicewood folks were watching out and gave us a call,” the ranger said. “Had we not received that call, this case would have been impossible to solve.”
Illegal dumping varies from a misdemeanor to a felony charge based on the amount and type of materials left behind. And it’s not an uncommon activity.
“It’s actually very common all through the year,” Bowman said. “We find all sorts of items dumped in the parks or along the river by people who just don’t want to dispose of things properly.”
The key, Bowman said, is people such as the Spicewood caller reporting suspicious activities. He recommended calling 911, or if the person doesn’t feel comfortable using the emergency number, contact the LCRA dispatcher at 1-866-527-2267.
“To the citizens of Spicewood, I want to say ‘thank you,’ because without them, we probably would have never known about this (incident),” Bowman said. “And I want to thank Burnet County (Precinct 4) Constable Chris Jett and the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office for helping out on this matter. Everybody worked extremely well together.”
As of May 3, Milton still was being held in the Burnet County Jail on the charge of illegal dumping of 1,000 pounds or more.