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Activist Protesting Foothill Tollway Held

March 12, 1994|ELAINE TASSY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA — An Earth First! activist who chained himself to a crane was arrested Friday at the construction site of the Foothill Transportation Corridor, officials said.

Craig Walter Beneville, 27, of Santa Ana was perched atop the 200-foot crane alone when deputies arrested him at 6 a.m. He had been there since 5 a.m. Thursday with enough food for several days, he told authorities.

Workers maneuvered the crane so that it was next to a bridge. Then they lowered him into the waiting arms of two sheriff's deputies, spokesman Lt. Dan Martini said.

The environmental group claims the tollway, to run through eastern Orange County between the Riverside Freeway and Interstate 5, will destroy the habitat of several threatened species.

Beneville is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail on charges of trespassing, tampering with a vehicle and obstructing an arrest, Martini said.

An Earth First! spokesperson said Beneville's action was "raising (our) fight against these roads to another level."

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