LOGAN, W.Va. — Several local residents showed up at City Hall on Tuesday night to complain abut alleged local daredevils tearing around Stratton Street on dirtbikes and ATVs in a reckless manner.
Logan Police Chief E.K. Harper admitted that one vehicle had been impounded by his department and that some citations had been issued to the local riders being complained about.
Denny Frost, who works in the sales of such vehicles was the first resident to share his cautionary story. Frost noted that he is a strong supporter of the Hatfield McCoy Trail system and noted the problem is not being caused by visiting riders but by local residents.
“I was almost hit by an ATV riding down Stratton Street in the wrong direction one morning,” Frost said at the beginning of the extra long March 14 city council meeting. “On March 4 a dirtbike was flying down the street and I called 911.” Frost noted that later he saw a different rider on the same vehicle. “My major concern is for pubic safety,” he explained, saying the bike was travelling at an excessive rate of speed for such a congested street. “If a person had stepped out from between two parked vehicles they could have gotten hurt or killed.”
Frost said the riders appeared to be local residents, “and they think our stretch of road is their dragstrip.” Frost praised the Logan Police Department for handling the complaints in an efficient manner.
David Whitman had similar complaints to share. “One group of them will get out and really tear it up,” Whitman said of the allegedly unsafe riders. “I don’t want to see somebody hurt, but something needs to be done…I would appreciate more patrols in that area … sometimes the mere presence of law enforcement will make them turn away in a heartbeat.”
Whitman also had praise for Logan’s first responders saying the Logan Fire Department and Logan Police Department were second to none in the region. He noted he worked from this area to Crum 30 miles away. “I am proud of the leadership we have here and the men,” he said, adding that he was not down on visitors to the area who come to ride the trails which have helped make southern West Virginia a major tourism destination.
Fred Runyon quipped that he did not wish to sound like a broken record but he too had similar stories about the same individuals and activities.
“The people from out of town? I have had no problems with them,” he said. “But I have almost been hit by these people three or four times and I am tired of dodging them.” Runyon said the problem is severe when he has been walking his small dog and that he feared that sooner or later, “someone is going to get hurt.”
“They zip down that street doing 45 miles an hour -usually on their back wheels,” Runyon said, adding that he also wanted to thank Logan Fire Chief Scott Beckett’s department for rapidly responding to a diesel fuel spill recently and getting the problem cleaned up quickly.
“Those guys are solid gold!” he added.
Chief Harper said the dirtbike in question “was towed away last week,”and that several citations had been issued to the offenders. Harper also stated the problem seemed to be confined to locals, not visitors in town to ride the Hatfield McCoy Trails. “We have never really had a problem with our visitors,” he added. “It’s the same three people that we are getting these complaints about.”
Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti said patrols would be increased in the area and more fines would be issued if the problem persisted. He noted that the fine for such a citation runs about $80. Chief Harper noted that amount did not include the $65 court costs. Harper said the ticketing would continue until the offending behavior ended.
“I don’t want to get hit,” Runyon said. “I am too old to be run over by a kid.” He added that he felt such behavior was giving the town a black eye with tourists who come to Logan to ride the trails.
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer for Civitas Media and a retired reporter for The Logan Banner. He can be reached by calling 304-752-6950.