By Jano Tantongco
Reckless driving of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes may be emerging with the warmer weather, and Suffolk police are cracking down on drivers, according to Second Precinct Inspector Christopher Hatton.
On Sunday, police also arrested three 16-year-old boys for allegedly recklessly riding dirt bikes and an ATV in Huntington. James Garside, a Second Precinct police officer, witnessed the teens driving recklessly southbound on Park Avenue at around 4:50 p.m., according to police. Garside followed the trio to Berkeley Jackson County Park where they abandoned the vehicles and ran into the woods, police said.
Second Precinct Sgt. Steven Surian created a perimeter and alerted the canine section. Officer Paul O'Brien, and his dog Argo, entered the woods, found the boys and arrested them.
Police did not release the names of the three boys, who were each charged with reckless driving. They were released on bail to their parents. The vehicles were impounded, and the teens are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 1.
Hatton said Wednesday that there is “a lot of illegal riding going on” in town. According to police, it is illegal to operate most ATVs on any roads where such use is not designated. Dirt bikes, although sometimes classified as ATVs, can be street legal depending on the model.
“Once school ends… they’re riding in the streets with these things,” he added. “We’ve been conducting enforcement of just illegal ATV operations in the street.”
Hatton said it’s led to the recovery of stolen vehicles, which the precinct is also cracking down on.
Last week, police said they arrested 17-year-old Timothy Flythe, of Huntington Station, for possessing a stolen ATVs and dirt bikes. He was arrested at a Pulaski Road in Huntington Station on June 1. Earlier that day, police said they got a tip from a caller who saw his stolen ATV on the premises.
Further investigation by Second Squad detectives led to the recovery of the five stolen vehicles. Three of the vehicles were stolen from Huntington residents, one was stolen from a West Islip resident and another swiped from Nassau County, according to police. Police said a sixth vehicle, an ATV, was also secured by police and was impounded pending additional investigation.
Flythe was charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and four counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.
Another arrest was made on Monday in a separate case.
Police said a 24-year-old and 16-year-old boy, both of Huntington Station, were acting in concert and were found in possession of a stolen ATV at around 12:05 p.m. The arrests were made at the 24-year-old’s Todd Court residence, which is where the 2003 Kawasaki ATV was found, according to police.
Both were charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Police also charged the 24-year-old with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana for having it in public view.
Inspector Hatton advised owners of ATVs and dirt bikes to not openly discuss them, especially not in school or on social media.
“People find out that you own them, and next thing you know they’re coming into your shed in your backyard and taking your ATV,” Hatton added.
During Tuesday’s Huntington Town Board meeting, Huntington Station community advocate Jim McGoldrick thanked police cracking down on the illegal activity. He also blamed the illegal activity on boredom.
“We have to find something to occupy their time when school’s out because we’re going to have big problems,” McGoldrick said. “We don’t want kids going through the system because it’s only going to be a bigger burden later on in life.”