COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The third and latest rendition of Columbus’ crack down on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs resulted in nearly a dozen impounded vehicles and more than 30 criminal charges.
The Columbus Division of Police said in a news release Monday that officers enforced Operation Wheels Down for the third time from 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, patrolling multiple areas within the city and Franklin County with assistance from the sheriff’s office and Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Part three of Operation Wheels Down resulted in the following, according to Columbus police:
- 11 vehicles were impounded
- 2 stolen vehicles were recovered; VIN removed from what police suspect is a third stolen vehicle
- 26 traffic citations were issued
- 2 felony charges were filed
- 2 felony writs were served
- 5 misdemeanor writs were served
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city officials announced the Operation Wheels Down plan during a May press conference amid an influx in calls about noise and safety concerns regarding reckless motorbike riding.
“This kind of behavior will not be tolerated, and we are coordinating closely with all our partners across the city to leverage our combined resources, and strengthen enforcement and prosecution in ways that promote safety and maximize accountability.”
A misdemeanor charge of reckless operation of a dirt bike or ATV could result in a fine between $500 and $1,000, impoundment of the vehicle and 30 days in jail.
“Consider this your notice: our officers and law enforcement partners will be on the lookout for this dangerous behavior. You won’t know where or when. This is not a game, and when we catch you, there will be consequences,” Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said.
In total, the three Wheels Down operations — conducted on May 7, June 4 and July 30 — led to the following:
- 66 people were arrested, summoned, or issued a citation (Charges include operating without a license, OVI, reckless operation, and failure to comply)
- 9 guilty pleas were entered out of the 11 individuals charged in the first Operation Wheels Down
- 8 arrests were made that included felony charges (2 felony warrants, 1 aggravated possession of drugs, 1 carrying a concealed weapon, 2 felony fleeing charges)
- 1 stolen firearm was recovered
- 1 person was charged with OVI
- 1 person was determined to be missing from a nearby Ohio county
- 1 person was 8 years old
- 5 stolen dirt bikes were recovered
- 34 ATVs and dirt bikes have been impounded