Wickham Park Ranger Arrested

MELBOURNE, Fla. — On Monday December 19, 2011 at approximately 7:06AM, the Melbourne Police Department responded to Wickham Park, located at 2500 Parkway Drive, regarding a vehicle crash.

The Park Ranger’s patrol vehicle had been found crashed and abandoned near the dog park. The vehicle had significant damage and blood was found in the interior, possibly indicating the occupant was injured.

Furthermore, the ranger who was assigned to be operating the vehicle, identified as Robert Triplett, 31, of Palm Bay, could not be located. After pursuing several leads, officers were able to locate Triplett approximately one hour later at 3547 Sandpiper Lane, which is in close proximity to the crash location. 
During the investigation, it was determined that Triplett had completed a written report of this crash at the Ranger Station prior to leaving the park, but still failed to notify the police.  Due to Triplett completing the written report, it was determined that he fulfilled his requirements under Florida Statue 316.061 (Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Property Damage).  Therefore, he was charged with Careless Driving and issued a citation for this crash.

While officers were conducting the investigation of the above incident, it was learned Triplett was involved in a hit and run crash on December 10, 2011 while driving his personal vehicle.  This crash occurred at the intersection of Wickham Road and Aurora Road and it resulted in injuries to the other person.  Triplett’s vehicle struck a pedestrian who was attempting to cross Wickham Road and drove away.  The pedestrian was transported by ambulance to Holmes Regional Medical Center for his injuries.  

After following up leads from witnesses and evidence on scene, officers located Triplett’s vehicle, a 2002 Pontiac Firebird, at the Wickham Park Ranger’s station at approximately 11:30PM (on the 10th).  Triplett was questioned and admitted to being at the scene of the crash but stated he did not hit the pedestrian. Evidence and witness statement’s contradicted Triplett’s explanation of the crash and at that time, a felony charge of hit and run with injuries was filed with the state attorney’s office for review.  
Today, officers investigating the above incident consulted with the state attorney’s office on the hit and run incident. At that time, it was decided there was sufficient evident to support the charge from the incident on the 10th, therefore Triplett was arrested and booked at the Melbourne Police Department for that incident.