NAZCA DESERT, PERU — Peruvian officials said a truck driver recently plowed over Peru's world renowned Nazca Lines, causing significant damage.
The trucker, 40-year-old Jainer Jesus Flores[b], was arrested after he allegedly ignored warning signs and drove over the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Peru's ministry of culture said Flores' truck left deep track marks across a 164-foot by 328-foot area of Nazca lines, affecting the surface and damaging three of the geoglyphs.
Various sources reported that Flores said he didn't know the area because he had never traveled there before and that he left the road to change a damaged tire, however, Argentine newspaper Clarín speculated that Flores was perhaps trying to avoid paying a toll.
According to UNESCO, Peru's Nazca Lines were etched into the ground by the region's ancient inhabitants approximately 2,000 years ago. The lines cover an area of about 280 square miles, depicting animals, plants, mythical creatures and geometrical figures, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Peruvian newspaper Peru21 reported that Peru's Public Ministry planned to punish Flores with nine months of preventive detention and a fine about $1,550, but a judge on Tuesday concluded there wasn't sufficient evidence to indicate the driver acted with intent.
However, this is not the first time people have damaged the site. In 2014, Greenpeace activists planted a message on the site in advance of U.N. climate talks in Lima, leaving footprints all over the protected area.