Life Below Zero's Chip Hailstone Missed A Season To Serve Jail Time
The Alaskan resident Chip Hailstone has been on the National Geographic's documentary television series Life Below Zero since 2013. In the series, he and his family are seen living a hard life in Alaska amidst snow and life-threatening situations. Hailstone has appeared in 129 episodes so far, according to IMDb.
However, avid watchers of the show might have noticed that Chip did not appear for a season of the show in 2017. That was because he was serving jail time for some crimes he committed a few years ago.
But what were his crimes and how did his sentencing work out? Find out the answers below!
What Were Chip Hailstone’s Crimes?
According to official police and court records, Chip Hailstone’s crimes date back to 2011. It was the time before he was famous through his show, Life Below Zero.
Hailstone was indicted for four charges of criminal offenses: two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements to law enforcement.
Hailstone Claimed False Allegations Against Trooper
On July 17, 2011, the TV personality Chip Hailstone and his family members were involved in a fight with several other people in Noorvik. From Hailstone’s family, Hailstone; his then-17-year-old daughter, Tinmiaq Hailstone; and his stepson, Jonathan Carter, were involved in that altercation.
That was a physical confrontation between Hailstone’s family and four other people including Jack Wells, who was accused of pointing a rifle at Tinmiaq.
Subsequently, Carter and the four people were arrested by Alaskan troopers, Christopher Bitz and Gordon Young, and were taken to a public safety building.
Later that day, Hailstone, his daughter Tinmaiq, and his wife walked into the building where Carter and the others arrested were being processed by the troopers. They were reportedly angry, upset, and combative, and thus, trooper Young asked them to step outside the building. After that, Hailstone and his family started yelling at the troopers claiming that his family had been attacked by weapons.
But that testimony was opposite to what other local people testified. The eye-witnessed people testified that it was the Hailstone family that attacked other people in the fight.
That confrontation with the troopers got further heated and at one point, Tinmaiq moved her hand in a way that gave the impression that she was going to striker trooper Bitz in the chest. Both the troopers moved to avoid the strike, but Bitz acted first, deflected her hand, grabbed it, turned her, and then held her arm off to her side and slightly behind her back, which was a defensive move.
After that, Bitz released her, and trooper Young immediately took Tinmaiq to the side to interview her. Following that incident with Tinmaiq, Hailstone and his wife continued to yell at the troopers using profanity. That was the end of the incidents for that day.
The next day, on July 18, 2011, Chip Hailstone sent an email to the authorities in which he claimed, falsely, that Bitz had assaulted his daughter during their interaction the previous day. He also demanded a criminal case to be opened against Bitz for his actions such as causing serious pain to Tinmaiq and threatening the life of his family by putting his hand on his firearm. There were a few other false accusations and testimonies in the email.
According to the troopers, however, as they later testified in the courts, Bitz had not initiated any confrontation before Tinmaiq made her move. And neither had any of them did acts like putting their hands on their firearm and raising their voice.
This false reporting of the incident through the email was the basis for Count II of his charges; providing false information with the intent to implicate another person in an offense.
Then, on July 20, 2011, Hailstone applied for a short-term and long-term restraining order against Bitz. He said all the false things that he mentioned in the email, and also added that Bitz was stalking his family. At the time, the court granted his request for a short-term order.
However, his appeal and his false testimony became the basis for Count I of his charges; perjury.
Alaska Bureau of Investigation, following Hailstone’s application for the restraining orders, appointed Trooper Investigator Joshua Rallo, who did not know anyone previously involved in the case, to look further into it.
When Rallo interviewed Chip about the incident, Hailstone again reiterated his lies. This became the basis for Count III of his charges: providing false information with the intent to implicate another person in an offense.
Then, two weeks later, on August 8, 2011, Hailstone appeared in front of a superior court to appeal his long-term order. Again, he repeated most of his fabrications that he had made previously. This testimony became the basis for Count IV of his charges: perjury, which completed his four counts of offenses.
Finally, on December 15, 2011, Hailstone sent another email to the Alaska State Troopers in which he included all the previous lies along with a new lie that said that Bitz had sexual intent towards his daughter during their altercation. However, this move backfired as well. Even though no criminal offense was charged for this email, it was, however, used as evidence to show Chip’s intent and motive regarding his previous false statements.
Chip Hailstone Was Sentenced for 15 Months Starting From July 2017
With two counts of perjury and two counts of providing false information with the intent of implicating another person in an offense, Chip Hailstone went to trial. There, both the troopers, his wife, daughter, and others testified but he didn’t. He just claimed that his statements had been truthful.
After the trial, Hailstone was found guilty of all charges and was convicted on July 27, 2012. Even though new evidence was discovered in the form of an audio recording, the superior Court Judge Ben Esch dismissed the evidence after realizing that the evidence would not cause the jury to revert their positions regarding Hailstone’s punishment.
After long court proceedings of over 5 years, Hailstone finally started his 15-month jail sentencing at the Anchorage Correctional Complex in July 2017. His jail sentence was followed by three years of probation. Due to this reason, he also missed an entire season of the show in 2017. Being said that, he had appeared in Life Below Zero's one episode named Seasons of Change that aired on July 6, 2017, according to IMDb.
When Did Chip Hailstone Get Out of Jail?
Hailstone got out of jail in 2018 and has since been appearing in Life Below Zero regularly. His first appearance on the show after time in prison came on the 1 January 2018 in an episode named Homecoming, according to IMDb.