Federal grand jury indicts suspect in pipeline shooting

Posted: Friday, October 19, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted the man suspected of shooting the trans-Alaska oil pipeline earlier this month, causing more than 285,000 gallons of oil to spill onto the Alaska tundra.

Daniel Carson Lewis, 37, already faces state charges. The federal grand jury in Anchorage indicted him on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. If convicted of that crime, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Lewis already has pleaded innocent to felony charges of first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree assault and felony drunken driving. He is accused of shooting the pipeline north of Fairbanks near Livengood on Oct. 4.

Alaska State Troopers believe that Lewis, who has a long history of minor criminal offenses, fired at the pipeline just to see if he could pierce it. Troopers say he fired five shots with a .338-caliber rifle before succeeding on the sixth try.

Lewis' state trial is scheduled to begin during the last week in December before Superior Court Judge Mary Greene.

In addition to the three felony counts, Lewis also faces misdemeanor charges of oil pollution and fourth-degree misconduct involving weapons.

He faces a maximum of 22 years in prison for all the state charges against him, and could also be fined and ordered to pay restitution to the oil companies and the state.

The cleanup is expected to be lengthy and could run into the millions of dollars. Workers have recovered more than half the oil.

This winter, Alyeska crews will dig up as much of the contaminated frozen soil and vegetation as possible.

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