Etowah County Sheriff’s Office investigators charged a Duck Springs Road man after he allegedly threatened a crew clearing trees around power lines on his property, according to Sheriff Jonathon Horton.
Richard Austin Chastain, 72, is charged with five misdemeanor counts of menacing and five felony counts of first-degree criminal tampering, Investigator Stephen Hooks said.
The felony charge, Hooks explained, is a part of a utility workers protection act passed in 2013, making it a felony for someone to threaten utility workers in the performance of their jobs.
In this case, Chastain is accused of pointing a gun at members of a five-man tree cutting crew working for Alabama Power Company, cutting back trees along power lines.
The crew was working on Chastain’s property, Hooks said, in the 5000 block of Duck Springs Road, when he allegedly came out with a gun, yelling at them in explicit language, ordering them off the property.
“He told them ‘I’ve got five bullets. Who wants ‘em?’” Hooks said.
Chastain turned himself in on the charges Thursday and was released on $15,000 bond.
“These utility workers are out here putting in countless hours to ensure we have service,” Hooks said. “They (have) got to be protected.”