ATV Use Illegal in Elkins

Correction: The original post erroneously stated that ATV use is prohibited on city streets AND private property inside Elkins. The law only forbids ATV use on city streets. The below has been updated to correct the error.

City of Elkins is receiving complaints from residents about increased use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) inside city limits.

Remember: It is illegal to ride ATVs on Elkins streets and alleys.

There may be some confusion because of a recent change in state code. As enacted by the West Virginia legislature earlier this year, it is now legal to ride registered, inspected, “street-legal” ATVs (1) on certain state rights-of-way outside of city limits and (2) in cities that have incorporated these changes into their own laws. Elkins has not changed its laws forbidding ATV use inside city limits, so riding them on public streets remains illegal here.

Please be courteous to your neighbors and respect the law: Do not ride ATVs inside city limits. 

If you call police to report riders breaking this law in your neighborhood, remember that officers cannot issue a citation based on your report alone. Clear video or photographic evidence will make it easier for officers to take action, however.

Mayor Marco Invited to Complete Streets Champions Institute

In support of the Active People, Healthy Nation Initiative, Smart Growth America (SGA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity announced today that Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco will be part of the second class of the Champions Institute. The Champions Institute is a program created to help motivated local elected officials equitably define, design, build, and evaluate Complete Streets in their communities. Mayor Marco was selected as one of the many local elected officials from across the United States (and its territories).

“We are pleased to welcome Mayor Marco to the second class of the Champions Institute,” said John Robert Smith, a senior policy advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Marco’s commitment to position their hometown to become a more accessible, equitable, and economically viable community for all residents was compelling. Experts in their field will provide the mayor with valuable skills throughout the program and share their own insights in developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.”

Over the next six months, participants in the Champions Institute will attend virtual learning sessions that will make them experts in equity-based principles and train them on the fundamental steps to take to achieve Complete Streets in their community, from envisioning to implementation. Participants will also learn about best practices and challenges from across the country, as they grapple with different strategies in a collaborative and supportive peer-learning environment.

Local leaders who are selected for the Champions Institute will have the opportunity to learn from a broad array of national experts and former local elected officials in the areas of public health, policy, street design, and project implementation. At the completion of the institute’s program champions will be experts in promoting community reforms to create safer streets for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. Champions will be prepared to support plans, policies, and funding that promote the CDC’s Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative of expanding activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, in their communities.

After participants complete their work in the Champions Institute, SGA will provide continuing support to the local champions as they serve their communities. Newly minted Complete Streets Champions will act as emissaries to other local leaders, sharing their expertise and ideas to grow a network of more Complete Streets Champions across the country who will build and expand activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations across the country.

“It’s really exciting to be selected for the Champions program, because it connects directly to so many things that I’m really passionate about,” says Marco. “We want Elkins to be as walkable as possible and to be a city where pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists share the streets safely. That’s key to getting people moving more and enjoying the health and mental benefits of an active lifestyle. I can’t wait to bring what I learn back to Elkins.”

This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. This program is designed to support the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative through developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.

Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

Active People, Healthy Nation Initiative is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Increased physical activity can improve health, quality of life, and reduce health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions and provide effective treatment for many of these conditions. Other potential benefits include better school performance and improved military readiness. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, result in less air pollution, and create more cohesive communities. Learn more here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity protects the health of Americans at every stage of life by encouraging regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight. Through support of state and community partners, they provide data, programs that work, and practical tools so that Americans have the best possible chance to achieve healthier lives and avoid chronic diseases.


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Smart Growth America Contact: Devin Willis, dwillis@smartgrowthamerica.org

Read this on our blog: www.cityofelkinswv.com/city-blog.

EPD Seizes 15 Marijuana Plants

Elkins, W. Va., August 11, 2021: Acting on an anonymous tip, Elkins Police Department (EPD) officers located and seized 15 marijuana plants near Wilson Lane today.

After receiving the tip, Corporal C.G. Boatwright, Corporal B.D. Tice, and Patrolmen N.G. Elbon, R.S. Goux, J.L. Rutter and R.A. Summerfield responded to a wooded area south of Wilson Lane. The officers searched the area on foot and discovered a plot where 15 marijuana plants were being grown. Officers also found gardening tools apparently stored nearby by the grower.

Officers used the tools to remove the plants and transported them to the EPD station for later transfer to and destruction by the West Virginia State Police. No suspects have been identified yet.

This is the second large marijuana-cultivation operation disrupted by EPD inside Elkins city limits since 2012.

Posing with 15 seized marijuana plants are (left to right) Patrolman R.S. Goux, Patrolman R.A. Summerfield, Corporal B.D. Tice, Corporal C.G. Boatwright, Patrolman N.G. Elbon, and Patrolman J.L. Rutter.

Elkins Police Department cruiser with 15 seized marijuana plants.

EPD Seizes 1.7 Pounds of Meth and Three Firearms

  • Largest methamphetamine seizure in EPD history
  • Citizen information contributed to probable cause for search warrant

While on routine patrol on River Street in Elkins this morning, EPD officers D.T. Sayre (Patrolman First Class) and N.G. Elbon (Patrolman) contacted two individuals, Eric Armstrong and Roger Ware.

After obtaining consent for a pat-down search for officer safety, EPD found Armstrong to be in possession of a firearm and a personal-use amount of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine. Arm strong was detained for further investigation. A search of his backpack found approximately 135 grams of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine.

After attempting to flee officers, Ware was also found to be in possession of a firearm, as well as a digital scale and baggies.

Based on this encounter and information about Armstrong received from the public, officers received and executed a search warrant for Armstrong’s residence in Heavener Acres, which he shares with Krystal Ann Dellagatta.

Officers contacted and detained Dellagatta at this residence. She directed officers to three safes hidden under a bed and containing additional amounts of a white crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine. Officers also found ledgers, scales, and other items consistent with the ongoing distribution and sale of controlled substances.

Armstrong, Ware, and Dellagatta were transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

In total, this investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 750 grams (1.7 pounds) of a crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine and three firearms. The street value of the alleged methamphetamine is approximately $85,000.

“This is the largest methamphetamine seizure in EPD history,” says EPD Chief Travis Bennett.

EPD Activity at EMS

From Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett:

This morning, EPD was made aware of a possible threat on social media against Elkins Middle School. EPD officers contacted the students mentioned in the posts as they arrived at school this morning. There is no threat to the school at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

EPD Statement Regarding Missing Child

From Chief Travis Bennett:

The Elkins Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies responded this morning to a report of a 4-year-old boy missing from his mother’s residence. Resources deployed for the search included K9s from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the W. Va. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as well as the EPD drone. Citizens also assisted by reporting sightings.

The child was located approximately one mile from the residence. He appeared to have suffered minor abrasions and was transported to Davis Medical Center for evaluation. The incident is under investigation by EPD.

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City Hall Flag at Half Mast for Donald Pritt

The U.S. flag at Elkins City Hall is at half mast today in honor of Donald R. “Donnie” Pritt, 73, who died Saturday.

Mr. Pritt devoted his life to public service here in Elkins, across the state of West Virginia, and–during his 42 years as a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard–overseas while deployed for Operation Desert Storm. Here in West Virginia, he participated in operations mounted in response to aircraft crashes, floods, and civil disturbances.

After retiring from uniformed service, he worked eight more years as a civilian National Guard employee. Many current and past National Guard members considered him a mentor and expressed great sadness to hear of his passing.

Mr. Pritt was also a familiar face at Elkins City Hall, where he served for many years on the Elkins Police Civil Service Commission, an unpaid position with responsibilities related to hiring, promotions, and policy development for the Elkins Police Department. In this capacity, he was integral to the hiring of numerous EPD officers, including nearly every officer serving currently.

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EPD Update About 1/21 South Elkins SWAT Operation

 
Statement of EPD Chief Travis C. Bennett, providing additional details about last week’s SWAT team operation at a home on Evans Drive in South Elkins:
 
“The individual found deceased at the location of the January 21 EPD SWAT team operation was Ty Garrett Hilderbrand, age 35.
“Mr. Hilderbrand had recently moved from Missouri to Elkins and lived at the home that was the scene of last week’s standoff. He was not the only resident of this house, but he was alone in the house at the time of this incident.
 
“Prior to the January 21 incident, EPD had contact with Mr. Hilderbrand in relation to a domestic violence call. In the course of this contact and during subsequent communications with law enforcement and community members, Mr. Hilderbrand stated that he was armed and that he intended to resist our investigation. He also threatened to burn down his house, which is located in close proximity to other houses and an elementary school.
 
“When Mr. Hilderbrand was found deceased, he was in possession of a handgun and a rifle. The house had been heavily barricaded.”
 
T.C. Bennett
Chief of Police

EPD Statement on 1/28 Welfare Check Incident

Statement of EPD Chief Travis C. Bennett:

At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, EPD officers attempted to perform a welfare check on a male subject in the vicinity of Livingston Avenue.

A BOLO alert issued by Upshur County law enforcement had advised that someone matching this man’s description had threatened suicide in the Buckhannon area and that his current whereabouts were unknown.

Upon being approached by officers, the subject attempted to flee in a motor vehicle, driving in a reckless manner and damaging two EPD cruisers before being stopped near T-Mart, on Davis Avenue. As officers attempted to extract the subject from his vehicle, he produced a handgun, which he pointed at one officer. Officers used a TASER and baton strikes to subdue the subject. After being restrained, the subject was transported by Randolph County EMS to Davis Medical Center for evaluation.

One EPD officer received minor injuries to his hand.

T.C. Bennett

Chief of Police

EPD Releases Information About South Elkins Barricade Incident

Elkins, W. Va., January 22, 2021: Last night’s hours-long standoff at a residence on Evans Drive in South Elkins developed after an Elkins Police Department (EPD) SWAT team attempted to serve a felony warrant on an individual suspected of making terroristic threats, said Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett. After hours of negotiation attempts proved fruitless, SWAT officers made entry and discovered the building’s lone occupant dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. EPD is not confirming the decedent’s name at this point in the investigation.

“Based on intelligence and prior communications with this individual, the decision was made to follow our high-risk warrant service protocol,” said Bennett. “That includes use of our SWAT officers and the department’s MRAP vehicle, as well as a public notice to shelter in place and the evacuation of nearby residences as a precaution.”

When the operation commenced at around 6:30 p.m., EPD had ample grounds for believing that the individual named in the warrant was in possession of numerous firearms and that any arrest attempt might turn violent.

“The suspect had made it known that he was armed and ready to confront law enforcement officers with deadly force and had prepared his residence for a standoff,” said Bennett. “Once we were on scene and had evacuated the neighboring residences, we found that the suspect had indeed barricaded himself inside the house and was refusing to come out.”

Over the next several hours, officers made numerous attempts to negotiate with the individual barricaded inside the residence. Officers also attempted to force the suspect outside through the use of non-lethal chemical irritants. These attempts were met with further threats by the suspect to come outside shooting at officers and to shoot any officers who tried to come inside.

Finally, around 10:30 p.m., SWAT officers deployed flash-bang grenades and additional chemical-irritant rounds, then entered the residence.

“Upon entering, my officers observed that the suspect had installed heavy barricades and other fortifications in the house,” said Bennett. “They found the suspect deceased with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Bennett confirmed that this was the only shot fired in the course of this incident; no shots were fired by or at law enforcement officers.

“I’m really proud of the skill and professionalism shown by all of the officers and other personnel who helped out,” he said. “I’m grateful for the assistance of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, the Elkins Fire Department, and Randolph County EMS.”

This is an ongoing investigation, so EPD is not able to release more information at this time.

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