West Hartford police seek ways to stop large groups of ATV riders

Police are looking into what else they can to in terms of enforcement for this type of activity after a weekend incident in West Hartford, Conn.

WEST HARTFORD — After police say a large group of all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles drove recklessly through town this weekend, officials are seeking solutions to a problem they say is hindered by laws related to this type of activity.

Police Capt. Eric Rocheleau said police received several complaints on Sunday of a large group of ATVs and bikes driving recklessly in the area of Farmington Avenue, Ridgewood Road and New Britain Avenue. He said there were no accidents or injuries reported during the incident.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Assistant Police Chief Lawrence Terra said this type of activity has come to West Hartford before, adding that Sunday’s group — of about 200 individuals — was the largest the town had seen.

Rocheleau said the investigation into Sunday’s incident is ongoing. And since the law doesn’t give law enforcement officers much wiggle room when it comes to this type of activity, police are hoping for the public’s help to identify those involved.

“Enforcing traffic laws regarding ATVs is challenging as the ATVs often do not bear registration plates and operators fail to stop when signaled to do so by police,” he said. “State law prohibits the use of tire deflation devices and road blocks, as well as the ability to pursue for motor vehicle violations and property crimes.”

The problem is not exclusive to West Hartford. Many major cities in Connecticut and other neighboring states have been faced with the same challenge, Rocheleau said.

He said the department is actively working with its regional law enforcement partners to develop solutions and responses, such as other enforcement methods and local ordinances regulating the use of these vehicles.

Connecticut Media Group