Two accused of dumping waste into Little Darby watershed
Madison County Wildlife Officer Matt Teders put his best detective skills to use in recent months, tracking down two Champaign County men accused of dumping construction waste near Little Darby Creek — a national and state scenic river.
Urbana residents Matthew Ratcliff, 46, and Sean A. Rutherford, 38, were each charged with two counts of stream littering in Madison County Municipal Court.
Neither showed up for arraignment on March 27, forcing Magistrate Christopher Brown to issue bench warrants for their arrests.
Charges against Ratcliff and Rutherford capped a three-month probe by Teders and an investigator from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) into the source of several truckloads of construction debris dumped along Plain City-Rosedale Road, southwest of Plain City. The site lies in the creek’s floodplain.
According to court documents, Teders was on patrol on Jan. 19 when he happened upon the roadside mess. He sorted through piles of wet waste and located several labels that indicated Lowe’s as seller of the material. He contacted the home improvement big-box company, and in turn, traced sale of the goods to a Lowe’s sub-contractor. The plot thickened when that sub-contractor led to yet other sub-contractors, eventually identified as Ratcliff and Rutherford.
Both admitted to discarding materials at the site on multiple occasions and agreed to clean it all up.
However, that clean-up did not relieve the pair of criminal liability, Teders noted.