Hartford police are investigating a deadly ATV crash that happened on Thursday evening.
They identified the victim as 26-year-old Tyquann Whitehead of Hartford.
Police said Whitehead's ATV hit a utility pole on Newfield Avenue. The road was closed.
Police said Whitehead slammed into a telephone pole and the ATV then went into a parked car.
They said the crash is a grim reminder that dirt bikes, quads, and ATVs are dangerous and illegal to drive on city streets. They also said it’s nearly impossible to curb the issue.
"This is a colossal problem for every city around the nation," said Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley.
He added that Whitehead was part of a large group traveling through the city.
“Witnesses on scene have described the incident as a pack of dirt bikes and ATVs and quads riding around recklessly, and masks up,” Foley said.
Every summer, complaints about groups of masked ATV riders cruising Hartford streets spike.
The city passed a law allowing police to impound and destroy illegal vehicles on the road, but so far it hasn't been enforced.
“Up until this point, the state's attorney has been reluctant to enforce the law. It is one of the very few tools we have as police officers to limit the amount of ATVs and dirt bikes on our streets, and to this point, that law has yet to be enforced and it's obviously frustrating for us as a police department,” Foley said.
Police said they are virtually powerless to stop illegal riders because pursuing them is too dangerous, which is a fact these masked riders often understand and exploit.
“We can’t chase them, they know it,” Foley said.
The full law states: “This act permits the seizure and forfeiture to the City of any dirt bike or mini motorcycle (as defined by CGS 14-390m) or all-terrain vehicle (as defined by 14-390) if the City has an ordinance governing the operation of such vehicle (refer to Part 1, Chapter 22, Article 3, section 22-120 of the Hartford Municipal Code). Any dirt bike or mini motorcycle seized under this provision shall be subject to any liens, leases or securities, unless the lienholder or owner of the vehicle did not know and could not have known that the vehicle would be operated in violation of municipal ordinance. Vehicles seized pursuant to this Act shall be sold at public auction.”
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