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Columbus Police Make 11 Arrests Over Weekend For Reckless Use Of ATVs and Dirt Bikes

 An unidentified ATV driver pops a wheelie while on Hamilton Road on Friday, July 31, 2021 in Columbus.
Columbus Police
An unidentified ATV driver pops a wheelie while on Hamilton Road on Friday, July 31, 2021 in Columbus.

The first weekend of a crackdown on the reckless use of ATVs and dirt bikes by Columbus Police and the Franklin County Sheriff's Department led to nearly a dozen arrests.

Over the weekend, police and sheriffs deputies took numerous actions, including arresting 11 people, impounding 11 ATVs or dirt bikes and levying multiple misdemeanor and felony charges.

Columbus Assistant Police Chief LaShanna Potts insisted her officers won't tolerate the reckless driving.

“To anyone engaging in this careless and foolish behavior, I want to be clear. That was your warning. There won’t be another,” Potts said. “These vehicles are not toys, and our streets are not your playground. What you’re doing is putting lives at risk — including your own. If life and safety isn’t enough to convince you, know this. We can and will seize your vehicle.”

Columbus Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight asked for assistance from the public.

“While we made several apprehensions, we also have video evidence of others that fled from police, and we are investigating these offenses and are now asking the community to help us identify these individuals that have been lawlessly putting everyone at risk on our roadways,” Knight said.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert said the department's officers are assisting with the crackdown.

“I want to tell you that the Franklin County Chiefs Association is very committed to assisting in this endeavor as well. Because when these motorcycles start, just like we saw on Friday night and Saturday night, they go everywhere,” Gilbert said. “They are reckless in how they operate.”

Columbus Police and City Council, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Whitehall Division of Police announced the joint crackdown as "Operation 52" in July. Columbus City Council last week passed new legislation increasing fines to as much as $1,000 for recklessly operating an ATV on city streets.