TUCSON, Ariz. – Late last week, Katherine Rose Sparks, 23, of Huachuca City, Ariz., was sentenced to serve 84 months in prison and pay $49,930.73 in restitution. Sparks had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and assault on a federal officer with a dangerous or deadly weapon. Sparks’s term of imprisonment will be followed by five years of supervised release.
On Feb. 23, 2017, a United States Border Patrol surveillance vehicle saw an SUV near Bisbee, Ariz. being loaded with bundles. The SUV was then observed traveling west on Highway 92. Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) followed the SUV west, activating their law enforcement lights, until the vehicle stopped at a red traffic light on the east side of Highway 92’s San Pedro River bridge crossing. At the stoplight, the SUV veered off the right side of the road, traveled down a steep embankment, and began driving on the dirt area on the side of the road, maintaining a high rate of speed. At one point, the vehicle was briefly airborne as it drove through a trench. When it landed, the SUV came to a stop, appearing to be stuck in a ditch on the roadside.
Two BPAs exited their vehicles, proceeding to the front doors on either side of the SUV. When the passenger refused to exit the vehicle, the agent opened the door and attempted to remove him. During this altercation, Sparks, who had still not turned off the SUV, slammed the car into reverse, causing the open passenger door to trap and drag one of the agents underneath the door of the SUV. While the agent was trapped under the door, the passenger climbed back into the SUV and, after the agent freed himself, shut the passenger’s door. Afterward, Sparks successfully negotiated the vehicle back onto Highway 92 traveling east. Agents located the SUV the following day, still containing the bundles of marijuana. The driver of the SUV was later identified as Katherine Rose Sparks.
The injured agent was transported to Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz. for medical treatment. The injuries to his knee were substantial and resulted in significant surgery.