CLEARFIELD – A Penfield man known as “Wildman” who is accused of deliberately wrecking an all-terrain vehicle in one case and carving his name in trees while he was illegally camping on forestry land in a second case pleaded guilty Monday.
Austin Brian Smith, 21, pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person in the first case and institutional vandalism, scattering rubbish and cutting/damaging trees in the second case. In a third case, he pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was sentenced by Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to two months to one year in jail and two years consecutive probation. He was ordered to have a mental health assessment.
Smith was fined $1,005 and must pay restitution of $771.74 to the forestry department. He is not permitted to be on any state forest land.
According to the affidavit of probable cause in the second case, in July forest rangers found a campsite with the signatures of “Wildman,” who is known to be Smith, carved into a log bench that was illegally cut from a nearby tree.
They also found a kayak thrown into the vegetation with “Wildman” written on the seat. There was garbage and trash scattered, including bottles, beer cans and six-pack rings in the woods near the site. Reportedly, other sites in similar condition have been associated with Smith.
On Aug. 17, there was another report of graffiti written on the guardrails of the new bridge on Blackwell Road that said “Wildman,” ” Wildman camping trip 6/17/17,” and “Shawnee+Austin” that was written with some sort of permanent white paint.
On Aug. 21, it was reported that there was a camper in the woods on a gas well road off Firetower Road in Parker Dam State Park, where someone was passed out or sleeping in a vehicle near it with ammunition and firearms all around them. This witness who was riding his bike in that area said he had seen the camper there for about three weeks.
When officers arrived there was no vehicle, but there was a fire still smoldering, and a camper with a tarp draped over the entire side of it. A tree was damaged with carvings and other large oak trees had been cut down.
There was a coyote pelt hanging from some brush and they found the remains of the carcass in the woods. A combination of plastic drums, tin cans and garbage was thrown throughout the area surrounding the camper.
There was no camping permit anywhere on the camper and no record of anyone having a permit for that area meaning it was illegally parked on state forest property. The name “Wildman” was written on the sides and door of the camper.
In all of Smith’s camping areas, he was notorious for leaving carvings or paintings with the name “Wildman” written out. Smith is also known to live on state forest land illegally, police said.
It was determined that he had not held a hunting license since 2013.
When Smith was taken into custody on Oct. 13 in Huston Township, he was found to have a metal smoking device that had an odor of burnt marijuana. For this he was charged in a new case with possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to reports in the first case, when police arrived on the scene of the accident, a witness said she was arguing with Smith as they were riding on an ATV.
During the argument, she called a friend to pick her up. Smith told her to hang up the phone or he would crash the vehicle. She refused to end the call and Smith then crashed the ATV, police said.
Both riders were thrown from the vehicle and sustained injuries, according to the affidavit.