BEDFORD - An eccentric Bedford County ultralight airport owner, already facing criminal charges in Blair County, spent Tuesday night in jail after he allegedly refused to acknowledge a series of traffic citations.
Don Ralph Ickes, 77, of Osterburg is infamous in Bedford County for his long history of legal trouble, partly the product of his alleged membership in a religious group that refuses to accept earthly legal authority.
When police in Bedford County mailed Ickes a citation for driving with a suspended license, he returned the forms unsigned, District Attorney Bill Higgins said Wednesday.
"Then he was in my office yesterday asking nonsensical questions," Higgins said. "I basically threw him out of the office."
Police stopped Ickes on the road shortly after that, citing him again for driving illegally, Higgins said. Officers took him to Magisterial District Judge Kathy S. Calhoun's Everett office to face his prior warrants.
Ickes refused to post collateral to secure his release, Higgins said.
"He said he would rather die than post collateral," Higgins said.
Ickes was jailed for the night; his daughter reportedly posted collateral Wednesday on his behalf.
Ickes maintained Wednesday that Higgins ordered police to follow him "without probable cause," portraying his latest citation as part of an ongoing harassment campaign by the district attorney's office.
He's free only "temporarily, until Higgins gets teed off again and goes after me again," Ickes said.
It's far from Ickes' first brush with the law. Online court documents show 14 Bedford County traffic citations in the last five years. He's faced charges for refusing to use Pennylvania license plates, instead allegedly using plates distributed by the Oregon-based Embassy of Heaven church.
Ickes faces harassment charges in Blair County after he allegedly called a state trooper's mother last year, seeking the trooper's personal information and phone number. He also faces a 2011 resisting-arrest charge in Blair County.
State police have dragged Ickes from his car more than once, as he's reportedly refused to lower his car window when troopers have pulled him over.
And officers used a Taser on Ickes at the Bedford County Courthouse once, Higgins said. Ickes said he secured a monetary settlement for the incident.
A website for the Embassy of Heaven church, whose driver's licenses Ickes has used, describes methods to irritate and confuse court officers by refusing to acknowledge their authority.
"The law applies to everybody," Higgins said, "even Don Ickes."
Referring to Higgins - his alleged harasser - Ickes put his feelings simply.
"The guy is a lunatic," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.