Hazleton police cracking down on illegal ATV riding

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Don’t even think about riding ATVs on public streets — Hazleton City Police issued the warning and now they’re cracking down on violators in the city.

The chief says they receive complaints from residents nearly every day about ATVs riding on city streets, creating a safety risk as well as impacting the quality of life in those neighborhoods. They say enough is enough.

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s long overdue. It’s tough for the police to actually catch them in the act, which is a huge part of the problem,”said John Keegan, an owner of a pharmacy on Poplar Street in the Heights section of Hazleton.

He started to sound the ATV alarms last summer when he recorded ATVs bring driven illegally on Poplar Street and he’s seen a lot since then.

“They go in the southbound lanes, northbound lanes, southbound. They jump the sidewalk. I had a kid jump the sidewalk here three weeks ago trying to avoid being caught,” said Keegan.

But Hazleton Police have turned up the heat. Just this past week, several ATVs were seized and citations issued to drivers.

“They were able to find some of the ATVs, stealthily follow them back to where they were able to approach them in the garage putting them away. Hopefully for the evening, but our officers were able to seize a multitude of ATVs for various traffic violations,” said Chief Brian Schoonmaker.

Hazleton City Council recently passed an ordinance that gives police officers the authority to
actually seize ATVs.

“If we can prove the vehicle was used criminally or used to commit some kind of traffic violations and that the vehicle is not properly owned, meaning they didn’t have the title for the vehicle, we put in that ordinance we are able to seize that vehicle,” said Chief Schoonmaker.

Once those vehicles are seized, they can also be destroyed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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