A case of trespassing in Ventura County took a bizarre turn Saturday when an 89-year-old woman armed with a rifle fell out of her pickup truck while confronting a group of interlopers and had to be hospitalized, authorities said.
The woman, who lives near a remote canyon outside Piru, has had trouble with trespassers in the past, so when she saw nine people walking onto her property about 4:40 p.m., she was genuinely concerned, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Buschow.
The frightened woman grabbed a rifle, yelled at the group to leave and fired two rounds into the hillside to “emphasize her point,” Buschow said. She didn’t aim the gun at the group, he said.
The pedestrians were associated with a shooting range farther down the canyon and may have been participating in a survival course in the area, authorities said. Among them was an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, Buschow said.
The group retreated and the woman — still armed with a rifle — got into her pickup truck to drive down the road and make sure everyone was leaving. The woman slowed near the walkers and pointed the rifle at one of the men, Buschow said.
The man tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear him, so he walked up to the truck, opened the door and grabbed the barrel of the gun in an effort to disarm her.
“In the process, she fell out of the truck,” Buschow said. “Unbeknownst to him, the truck was still in gear, so the rear wheel drove over her leg, continued to roll and went off a cliff.”
The woman suffered injuries to her ankle and was taken to a hospital by helicopter. Neither the woman nor the group wanted to pursue prosecution, so no one was arrested, Buschow said.
“All in all, the situation could have been much worse,” he said.