Washington, Missouri man could face charges for cutting down trees along nature path


WASHINGTON, Mo. – Approximately 150 trees on public property were cut down along the Missouri River and people are upset. Police in Washington, Missouri plan to charge a local man.

There’s a paved path in Washington that takes folks along the river and through the woods. Now one spot on that nature walk has been blighted.

“Cutting down 150 trees in a public area; that’s seriously wrong,” said resident David Sutherland. “They (trees) bring oxygen and beauty and he didn’t do any good for any of that.”

Police said a man in his 50s took a chainsaw to many of the trees living on protected wetlands.

“I love nature and I hated to see the trees go down,” resident Ina Holland said.

Investigators said the man told them why he did it.

“A lot of the trees had overgrowth, vines, and things like that. He felt a lot of those trees were going to die anyway, so he went through there and cleared them out,” Washington Police Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said.

The trees were not on his property. Since 2007, residents have had to ask for permission to have a tree removed from public property located between their property and the river. If the city agreed, the homeowner would paid for the work.

Detectives said the suspect said he didn’t know the rules.

“You can’t go down there and simply cut down the trees,” Sitzes said.

Police insisted the man never got permission. Not only could he face charges, the man could wind up owing a lot of agencies a lot of money. An arborist for the city of Washington has estimated the towns losses at $66,000.

Railroad property may have been damaged.

“The Army Corps of Engineers is also involved, MoDOT is involved because the bridge is in that area, Fish and Wildlife. There’s a lot of different federal agencies involved,” Sitzes said.

FOX 2 attempted to get a comment from the man but not we were not able.

Residents think the man should be charged.

“I think whoever did the cutting should be punished, yes,” said Leon Whitworth.

Police plan to charge the man with a number of crimes, including felony property damage and trespassing as early as the end of this week.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News