A man who became stranded in his overturned school bus, which he had converted into a mobile home, fired gunshots at a federal Bureau of Land Management worker who was taking photos of his temporary campsite in southern Oregon, according to court records.
On Tuesday, 56-year-old Scott Dye was sentenced in federal court in Medford to time served, essentially the year and six months he was in jail between his arrest and his guilty plea to the felony charge of assaulting a federal officer.
Dye had been traveling in the converted school bus from Washington state when he crashed it in late May 2020. A witness told police Dye was backing up the school bus and it fell down a hill, according to court records. The bus turned on its side, and Dye became stranded near Pickett Creek outside Merlin, according to Assistant Federal Public Defender Brian C. Butler. While there, he received multiple threats of violence from area residents who wanted him to leave, according to Butler.
Dye repeatedly attempted to move the bus without success. A Bureau of Land Management officer told Dye in early September 2020 that he had 14 days to leave the property.
About 7:40 a.m. on June 17, 2020, a BLM worker driving an unmarked white Chevy Silverado stopped to take photos of the bus at the site. First, he cut down two small trees so he could get a clear line of sight, according to prosecutors.
As the federal worker walked back to his truck after taking photos, he heard the rear driver side window of his truck shatter and realized someone was shooting at him, according to Marco A. Boccato, an assistant U.S. attorney. The BLM worker returned to his truck and, as he tried to leave, a second round struck his steering wheel. He drove off and called 911 once he got a safe distance away, according to Boccato.
The federal worker’s truck was struck three times, including one shot to the driver’s side front window. The worker suffered cuts from flying glass and shrapnel, according to prosecutors.
Agents from the FBI and BLM searched the bus and surrounding campsite with a warrant later that day. About five yards from the bus, agents located a .223-caliber shell casing on the ground. They found an empty black rifle case and a magazine of .233-caliber rounds inside the back entrance of the bus, near Dye’s sleeping pad, according to a government sentencing memo. Dye was arrested later that day near the site.
Boccato said Dye could have killed the BLM worker. The government, though, recognized that Dye had faced harassment and intimidation from area residents in the weeks leading up to the shooting.
“Regardless of what Dye thought” the federal employee was doing, “he should not have been shooting at a random, unidentified person,” Boccato wrote in his sentencing memo.
The conviction marks Dye’s first felony crime. At the time of the incident, Dye was traveling in the converted bus, using money he had saved from doing information technology work near Bellevue, Washington, according to his lawyer.
Since his release from jail in December, he has been living at the Eugene Mission, where he works two hours a day doing janitorial work.
Dye will be on three years of supervised release. He hopes to move to Texas and live with his brother and find work as a computer programmer, according to his lawyer.
— Maxine Bernstein
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-221-8212
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