AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A lot of caravans are hitting the roads this Memorial Day weekend but the Richmond County Sheriff says some are becoming an issue in Augusta.
Recently, the sheriff’s office was made aware of ongoing problems with people riding dirt bikes and ATVs on busy Richmond County roads. Now Sheriff Richard Roundtree and his team are cracking down on reckless driving.
“They’re putting everybody at risk, and they can’t do it. Let’s work together instead of working against each other,” said Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton.
Earlier this week, Richmond County deputies spotted a group of nearly 150 people riding ATVs and dirt bikes on Barton Chapel Road traveling towards Gordon Highway. Deputies say people were driving in the suicide lane, front yards, sidewalks, and performing wheelies.
Richmond County deputies are working to stop incidents like this.
Clayton said, “The sheriff and the Sheriff’s Office is not going to tolerate this. Most of the people are not even from Augusta. From what the organizer told us a great portion of the people that involved came from out of town.”
An encounter between Richmond County deputies and the group ensued on May 23. During the meet-up, deputies did not escalate the situation according to Clayton.
He explained, “They were pretty much finished with the ride and they did facilitate them getting back to their trailers. But they informed them that it was illegal that they can’t do it.”
The drivers told the deputies the ride was part of ‘wheels up, guns down’ event.
“We definitely like the sentiment but what we would tell any of these groups that are doing this is, partner with us. Come to us, we’ll talk about it. We’ll try to get you involved in programs we already have, we’ll work to tailor some programs that you have,” said Clayton.
Clayton was informed Wednesday similar incidents in Atlanta have resulted in four fatalities and he said he’s appreciative of what the deputies did Sunday.
“They’re whole for us was to just to get it stopped and that’s what they did. And they’re not going to be disciplined I applaud the deputies for the work they did that day,” added Clayton.
A release per the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office:
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is aware of the ongoing problems with people riding their dirt bikes and ATVs on the streets and highways of Richmond County. The drivers have been seen in large groups creating a hazard on the streets and highways by driving on the wrong side of the road, running red lights and stop signs, swerving in and out of traffic at high rates of speed while performing “stunts” on their dirt bikes and ATVs.
This will not be tolerated and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is taking proactive measures to make sure this type of activity is stopped. This is a dangerous and illegal practice that can injure one of the riders or another motorist. RCSO has identified and reached out to the riders and organizers of some of the groups that are responsible for these gatherings and explained the dangers of this illegal activity. Enforcement action will be taken against people that engage in this activity and their bikes or ATVs are subject to be confiscated.