Trucker Arrested When Police Find AK-47 Inside Truck After Crash
Bethel Township, PA – A Texas trucker was arrested over the weekend for unlawfully carrying a loaded AK-47-style rifle in the cab of his tractor-trailer.
Bethel Township police say truck driver Da Rontae Tarpley, 25, from Dallas, was operating southbound on Route 645 in Bethel Township near the Schuylkill County line around 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, when he lost control of the big rig.
For unknown reasons, Tarpley’s semi left the roadway crashing through the guard rail and overturning down an embankment, authorities said.
Tarpley and his passenger, who’s identity has not been released, sustained minor injuries in the accident and were treated-on scene by paramedics.
Both declined to be transported to a hospital for further evaluation.
According to officials, the weapon was discovered when Tarpley voluntarily told an officer who was surveying the scene that the firearm was in the cab of his truck.
Police then located the AK-47-style rifle and found it loaded with two 30-round magazines, which were connected to each other by red tape.
Police report one bullet was in the chamber of the rifle, and it did not have a stock.
The rifle was confiscated by police at the scene and Tarpley was detained pending further investigation.
It took cleanup crews eight hours to remove the semi-truck, its cargo and spilled fuel from the scene, officials said.
On Sunday, Tarpley was arraigned in Reading Central Court.
He was charged with felony counts of possessing a firearm while prohibited, and carrying a firearm in a vehicle without a license.
Tarpley also faces summary counts of carrying a loaded weapon and disobeying traffic-control devices, according to the Reading Eagle.
As of his arraignment, he was free on a $5,000 bail.
Bethel Township police reported this is not Tarpley’s first offense related to unlawfully carrying a weapon.
Officer John Lerch discovered a felony robbery conviction for Tarpley, stemming back to 2013 in the state of Texas, along with “several” charges related to unlawfully carrying a weapon.
(Photo courtesy Reading Eagle/Bethel Township Police)