Local News

Years-long problem of reckless ATV riders in Durham comes to a head as frustration mounts for drivers, police

ATVs and dirt bikes doing stunts and weaving in and out of traffic on busy roads has become a common problem in Durham and one that drivers are tired of dealing with.
Posted 2023-06-06T21:41:03+00:00 - Updated 2023-06-15T03:25:09+00:00

More people were charged in the dirt bikes and ATVs driving recklessly last Sunday afternoon in the streets of Durham.

On June 4, more than 200 riders swarmed an area over the past weekend and video surfaced of a group of dozens of riders performing dangerous stunts and running red lights on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard. After the announcement on June 6, in which Durham police arrested two participants, they also confirmed that more people had been charged.

Authorities say the following people are now facing charges concerning the incident:

  • Travone Jaron Alford, 28.
  • Dominick Johan Kelley, 29.
  • Frederick Lenard Huff, 27.
  • Phillip Michael Horton, 25.
  • Charles Damian Creel, 33.
  • Zarek Jaray Rollins, 35.

Investigators expect to bring additional charges in these cases.

Durham police are still searching for David Jamual Herring Jr, 30, of Durham, who has active warrants for his arrest following a traffic stop initiated by the DPD on a group of dirt bikers and four-wheelers.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts, contact CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. Callers remain anonymous.

Durham has dealt with illegal riding of dirt bikes, ATVs for years

This issue has been persistent for years in Durham.

Riders have even been seen going by police headquarters. This issue is also not unique to the Bull City.

Some people are worried it has gotten so out of control around the Triangle that it'll be hard to stop.

ATVs and dirt bikes doing stunts and weaving in and out of traffic on busy roads has become a common sight.

Dirt bike rider on Durham-Chapel Hill Road

However, Chapel Hill Police Celisa Lehew told WRAL News the issue is relatively new. On June 5, police announced charges against six people. Lehew promised a continued commitment.

"This is very dangerous, erratic driving," Lehew said. "It's not safe for our community and we will not welcome it in Chapel Hill.".

Lehaw said the groups have typically traveled south on US 15-501 onto Franklin Street, turn around in Carrboro and head back north toward Durham.

"If attention is what they're seeking, they're going to get it in the form of charges," she added.

In Durham, the concerns date back much longer. However, Tuesday is the first time we've heard from Durham police about any charges.

From Sunday's incident, police charged Durham men Jamal Anthony Redick and Marquis Tyqureus Massey with operating an unregistered motorcycle and resisting officers.

Former Durham Interim Police Chief Larry Smith believes it's time for law enforcement in the area to take a stand.

"How are you going to stop otherwise law-abiding citizens for traffic violations, and write them tickets because they're going to stop, but then let this go on?" Smith said.

Durham Chief Patrice Andrews wrote in a statement that she has formed a multi-jurisdictional task force. Smith believes that and continued enforcement is the best way to regain control of our roads.

ATV Rider on Durham-Chapel Hill Road

"It's past time to do something about it," Smith said.

In her statement, Chief Andrews expressed frustration that her officers have to deal with this kind of thing. When there are so many other pressing demands on their time, like violent crime.

“Despite the grossly inaccurate and unfair statements being made about our efforts to curb this type of lawless behavior, my officers have and will continue to attempt to dismantle and disrupt these groups," Andrews said. "We have formed a multi-jurisdictional task force, which includes the Durham County District Attorney’s office, that will focus solely on identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting individuals in our community that are more committed to being a part of the problem rather than the solution. It is disheartening that my officers and officers from other jurisdictions now have to divide efforts between addressing this behavior and addressing violent crime in our community.”

In Henderson, lawmakers have made moves to stop similar actions in their city, passing an amendment allowing for the construction of Motorsports facilities outside of city limits.

"As politicians, we have to do something," said Jason Spriggs, an at-large member of the Henderson City Council. "It has allowed more people to ride off of the public roads than before, [but] it still happens."

The investigation into these incidents continues, and more charges are forthcoming.