A marathoner says he was fined $100 for running in Valley Forge National Historical Park during the government shutdown.
John Bell, a 56-year-old realtor, said he parked his car on Sunday in a remote parking lot, not one blocked by a barrier.
Bell, of Chadds Ford, has competed in a marathon on every continent of the world, but one of his favorite places to run is Valley Forge.
“From a safety standpoint, I like running down there, along with the scenery,” he says.
But on Sunday, Bells says there were two rangers waiting with their car lights flashing when he returned. They slapped him with the $100 citation.
While Bell says he knew that national landmarks were closed, he didn’t realize Valley Forge would be affected.
“I’m not putting together that [the park is] closed. Even if it was, I’d be thinking, ‘Oh, they’re just closing the visitor center,’” he explains.
Bell says he saw many other runners and bikers in the park, and he plans to fight the ticket in federal court, along with his lawyer, Jeremy Ibrahim.
“Washington may have shut down the government, but due process is not shut down,” Ibrahim agrees.
He finds it ironic that one of the disagreements in Congress is the Affordable Care Act, “Yet we tell folks that we should all be healthy, we all should go online and sign up. He goes outside, does some running and gets a ticket for it,” Ibrahim says.
Meanwhile, Bell says he has received many calls and emails from other runners expressing their support, including a cyclist who heard his story.
“I believe he should fight it; it’s kind of a ridiculous scenario. Maybe the judge or whoever is in charge will see he was just using the land his tax dollars paid for,” Mike Festa, the cyclist, says.
Polling Place Distirct 1A
WALTON PARK RECREATION CENTER - 122 WALTON PARK DRIVE
Polling Place District 1B
ANDREW BELLE COMMUNITY CENTER - 1270 LAKE STREET
Polling Place District 2A
ROY DRIGGERS BUILDING (CIVIC CENTER) - 126 N. ST. ANDREWS STREET
Polling Place District 2B
WIREGRASS RECREATION CENTER - 620 6TH AVENUE
Polling Place District 3A
HOUSTON COUNTY FARM CENTER - 1701 E. COTTONWOOD ROAD
Polling Place District 3B
NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY - 1842 3RD AVENUE
Polling Place District 4A
DOTHAN UTILITIES COMPLEX - 200 KILGORE DRIVE
Polling Place District 4B
DOUG TEW RECREATION CENTER - 300 GARLAND STREET
Polling Place District 5A
WESTGATE RECREATION CENTER - 501 RECREATION ROAD
Polling Place District 5B
WESLEY MANOR RETIREMENT CENTER - 718 HONEYSUCKLE ROAD
Polling Place District 6A
VAUGHN-BLUMBER CENTER - 2715 FLYNN ROAD
Polling Place District 6B
WIREGRASS COMMONS MALL COMMUNITY ROOM - 900 COMMONS DRIVE