Mountain Valley Pipeline protestors charged after using ‘sleeping dragon’ to attach themselves to equipment

Police say the 68-year-old and 19-year-old involved were from New Jersey

Protestors use 'sleeping dragon' to attach themselves to construction equipment (Credit: Virginia State Police) (WSLS)

MONTGOMERY CO., Va. – Virginia State Police has placed charges on protestors who halted work at the Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite in Montgomery County Tuesday morning.

Witnesses told police that around 6 a.m., a vehicle driving in the 3800 block of Bradshaw Road stopped, and two people – 68-year-old Carol Gibbons and 19-year-old Eliza Lox of New Jersey – jumped out.

Police said the pair attached themselves to construction vehicles parked about 10 to 15 yards from the roadway using devices known as “sleeping dragons.”

According to VSP, a “sleeping dragon” is something used by activists to secure themselves together and/or to an object, typically made out of PVC pipe or metal, in which a person slips their arms into the pipe and then handcuffs their wrists inside. In this case, police said one of the protestors utilized a metal pipe reinforced with pieces of rebar.

[Protesters halt work at Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite in Montgomery County]

We’re told there were around 20 other activists who were gathered nearby at the time.

Officers repeatedly requested Gibbons and Lox to remove themselves from the equipment, but those requests were denied, authorities said.

About four hours later, around 10 a.m., a specially-trained state police extrication team started to work on removing the pair from the devices, according to police.

Once the devices were removed, police said Montgomery County Fire and EMS checked them both for signs of dehydration and determined if they had any additional medical needs.

Now, state police said they’ve filed charges.

Both Lox and Gibbons are charged with trespassing, obstructing free passage of another, and obstruction of justice, VSP said. Gibbons is also facing an interfering with property rights charge, while Lox faces a conspire to trespass charge.

Other people at the scene were also cited for any of the following, according to police: improper stopping on a highway, trespassing, failure to be in possession of a driver’s license, and improper parking.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.