AZ: Woman accidentally shot while dove hunting made false report
YCSO: Woman accidentally shot while dove hunting made false report
BY JAMES GILBERT
SUN STAFF WRITER
September 3, 2008 - 12:50PM
The Yuma County Sheriff's Office is considering filing criminal
charges of false reporting in the accidental shooting of a California
woman who was dove hunting in near Yuma on Monday.
Charges could be filed against Darby Engles, 38, and her husband
because they originally told sheriff's deputies an unknown hunter shot
her, according to YCSO spokesman, Capt. Eben Bratcher.
Engles was actually shot by her husband's best friend, who had come
to Yuma hunting with them, Bratcher said, and the couple made up a story
to protect him.
"If they had told us the truth from the beginning, they wouldn't be
in this position," Bratcher said. "It is still considered an accidental
shooting. We realize things like this can happen while hunting. There
was no reason to fabricate a story."
Bratcher said other hunters who witnessed the accident began
contacting the sheriff's office after reading a story in Tuesday's
edition of The Sun about the accident. They reported a different version
of the incident, he said.
"We have since contacted Engles and her husband, and they have told
us the whole story now," Bratcher said. "It is still considered an
accidental shooting, but due to the misleading story they told us we
could potentially seek charges for false reporting."
Engles originally told sheriff's deputies she had been hunting with
her husband on the opening day of dove season, and had sat down on the
tailgate of a pickup truck in the area of County 14-3/4 Street and
Avenue 2-3/4E to take a break about 8 a.m.
Moments later, she told deputies, she was hit in the left neck, right
forearm and legs with birdshot by another, unidentified hunter who had
fired at a low-flying dove, apparently without realizing where she was
in the distance.
Engles reported she didn't know who had shot her because the hunter
who shot her was on the other side of some trees.
Bratcher said it appears what actually happened was the husband's
best friend was out in a field about 40 yards away from the pickup where
Engles was sitting, and fired his shotgun in her direction while
tracking a low-flying dove.
"He swung around tracking this low-flying dove and, without paying
attention, fired in her direction," Bratcher said. "So it was actually
the husband's best friend who shot her, not some unknown other hunter."
Engles was treated for her injuries at Yuma Regional Medical Center
Accidental shootings or near-misses resulting from shots at
low-flying birds are something the sheriff's office receives reports on
every year during dove season, Bratcher added.
Dove hunting season continues from a half-hour before sunrise to noon
each day through Sept. 15.