WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – After more than 70 off-road vehicles were seen traveling throughout Trumbull County on public streets over the weekend, while breaking traffic laws, leaders are trying to send a clear message and stress just how dangerous their joy-ride was, now vowing to prosecute those charged to the fullest extent of the law.
City leaders are sending a clear message to those involved in this weekend’s “Bikes up, Guns Down Warren City Ride Out.”
“We won’t tolerate any of these activities by out-of-towners or people inside our community who wants to disobey traffic laws and have these illegal motor vehicles on our streets,” Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said.
“It’s a very serious offense and it will be dealt with seriously and can and will involve jail time,” Warren Law Director Greg Hicks said.
Meanwhile, police are still looking for Trevor Hall, the man they call the “ringleader” of the event.
When WKBN spoke to him Monday, he admitted to illegally driving off-road vehicles on public streets, but says the event was meant to be peaceful.
“Everybody took it absolutely the wrong way, you know what I mean?” Hall said. “We weren’t even running stop signs and blowing red lights until the cops started chasing us, putting us in more danger.”
But investigators in other areas say they were told otherwise.
“Upon interviewing one of the actors in this whole ordeal, they advised us that their mission in all of this was basically to disrupt police service,” Liberty Police Chief Rich Tisone said.
Between Liberty and Warren more than a dozen of these vehicles were towed, some even appeared to have the vehicle identification numbers scratched off–something that the state patrol is now looking into.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said they know one was stolen, and said folks looking for missing rides keep calling the impound lot.
“They’ve received no less than forty calls from people around the area that have had four-wheelers and ATVs missing and they’re thinking that these might be one of those,” Merkel said.