Crime

Blond Speeder's Smirk Doesn't Work in Grand Canyon Arrest for Going 36 MPH

Grand Canyon rangers wrestled an employee of the national park to the ground during an arrest last week after she reportedly refused to cooperate during a stop for speeding.

Dina Matlock, a blond woman in her early 20s known to officers as a frequent speeder, appears to have ticked off law enforcement Ranger Rick Blair by smirking and refusing to hand over her ID.

The generally low speed limits on the national park's often desolate roads can be frustrating, we know from experience. Then again, it's the sort of place where if you go too fast, you might hit the occasional elk or pedestrian.

Matlock, from Washington state, was thrilled in June to get a job, albeit low-level, at the world-famous park, according to her public Facebook site.

With a warning to other drivers, "Driving to Arizona! Watch Out! Speed! Vroom! Vroom!" scrawled playfully in paint on the back windshield of her silver VW Jetta, one Facebook post shows, she headed out the next month for her new career. She found the park's speed limits oppressive, clearly.

Blair pulled her over about 10 a.m. February 10 for going 36 miles per hour in a 25 m.p.h. zone on South Entrance Road, a main park thoroughfare, his report filed in federal court this morning states. He knew her well because since October she'd received six traffic citations -- including two he'd written himself -- and six additional warnings for her fast driving.

Yet she refused to hand over her driver's license, despite "12 commands" to do so and two warnings that he'd put her in handcuffs if she didn't comply, Blair wrote in his report.

Matlock "instead asked to see my speedometer," he wrote. "She also claimed that she didn't know where the ID was while she stared at me with a smirk, and then produced the ID out of her purse while still refusing to give it to me."

Blair forcibly removed Matlock from her car, tried to grab both of her hands and "took [her] to the ground," before slapping handcuffs on with the assistance of Ranger Katy Wilkinson.

The rangers wrote Matlock three citations -- for speeding, interfering with a ranger's duties, and resisting. Because a magistrate judge was out of town until later that week, the report states, Matlock was then uncuffed and released with a pending court date. She appeared before a judge on Friday and was ordered to attend a hearing in March.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.