On January 27th, 2018, a 40-year-old truck driver named Jainer Jesus Flores Vigo was arrested for driving his semi-truck over Peru’s Nazca Lines. Vigo apparently ignored numerous warning signs and caused tremendous damage to the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The lines are approximately 2,000 years old, and they depict figures of plants, animals, geometric symbols and fantasy creatures. Some of the figures are miles long, and the entire span of the Nazca lines cover an area that’s 280 miles, squared.
The investigation into the incident determined that Vigo didn’t maliciously act with intent when he drove across the lines (at least there was no evidence to suggest it). Vigo was detained and then later released. Nazca’s prosecuting office isn’t happy with that result, however, and Peru’s public minister announced that they’ll be appealing the decision made by the judge. As of now, the ministry is pushing for a $1,550 fine and nine months detention for the offense.
According to the Culture Ministry, “The rig left ‘deep scars’ across a 50 meters by 100 meters (164 feet by 328 feet) are, affecting the surface of the ancient site and damaging three of the geoglyphs.
Local newspapers have reprinted statements from Vigo, where he indicates that he was unfamiliar with the area and drove off the road because of mechanical problems. Many believe that Vigo’s decision to drive off-road was in an attempt to avoid paying tolls and had nothing to do with a vehicle malfunction.
The Nazca lines have dealt with damage in the past. The most recent, albeit far less damaging occurrence happened in 2014 when activists from Greenpeace attempted to place a message on the sites ahead of some U.N. climate talks in Lima and left the area riddled with footprints.
According to UNESCO, the Nazca site is “the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in its extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world.”
It’s unknown at this time whether Vigo will be detained again and brought up on charges pending the public minister’s request to appeal the judge’s original decision.