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January 07, 2008

Fullerton Man in Trouble for Making Bike Trail Holes

Ful_tr7

What did these residents of Fullerton Ca. find so amusing that it has them recovering from hysterical fits of laughter?

I'll get to that in a moment, but this is a SERIOUS story so be patient.

As regular readers know I've spent considerable time reporting on safety on the street and Class 1 Multi-use Trails in Orange County, in 2006 and 2007 .

Sharing the road is vital for all users of the roads, and trails.

I don't usually concern myself with the goings on among the MTB Set:

For 1 thing I don't own a Mountain Bike, and for another I just ain't THAT adventuresome. ;-D

Some of the places these folks ride are simply amazing and I salute them!

Over the weekend, however, I saw an AP story, on Yahoo News, that caught my attention.

Ful_tr1

Man accused of making bike trail holes
Sat Jan 5, 3:56 AM ET

What the Hell? The story was short, but disturbing.

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FULLERTON, Calif. - Police said they arrested a man who acknowledged digging holes on a park bike trail as payback for nearly being run down by a cyclist.

Warren John Wilson, 52, faces a single felony count of vandalism, police Sgt. Linda King said Friday.

2 wrongs don't make a right, especially when the innocent are put in danger by his stupidity.

The sane thing to have done would have been to advise the Police and Park and Rec Officials of the reckless behavior by cyclists.

King said nearly 50 holes measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet have been found since June along a trail at Laguna Lake Park, and in some cases attempts had been made to hide them from cyclists. She said some riders went over their handlebars after hitting the holes, but none reported major injuries.

50?

No serious injuries? Pure luck and by the Grace of whatever Higher Power you happen to believe in.

Detectives watching the trails questioned Wilson, who said he had nearly been run over by a mountain bike rider and began digging the holes in retaliation, King said.

Police said Wilson had been released from custody. A phone listing for him could not be found.

There's more to this and I'll get to it.

Today being a day off, and there being a bus that goes right to the park, yours truly decided to go for a stroll.

Ful_tr3 Laguna Lake Park is a 55 year old, 28 acre, park located off Euclid Ave., up the hill from Bastonchury.

The dirt Cycling and Hiking trail has 2 sections: One, on the west side near the Equestrian Center, that is easily accessable all year round, the other along the lake, to the east, which has gates that can be locked during times of inclement weather, like this past weekend and today.

I went traipsing along the open trail looking for a couple of nice shots representative of the terrain and discovered that the trail was not one you would want to walk along for a few days after a rain.

For some MTBers, of course, the conditions were ideal and I could see the tracks of those who had passed through before me earlier in the morning.

I didn't let this stop me though, self-respecting, intrepid, amateur nosey-poker that I am...after all look at all that grass along the side of the trail!

Enough secure purchase for anybody, I thought!

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Now you know why the natives were so amused...



Ful_tr5 There is nothing more uncannily human sounding than the sound a hoard of disturbed quackers make when you get too close to them.

As I walked along the fence separating the north side of the lake from the street, the locals started up, and I indignantly stopped, put my hands on my hips, glared at them, and asked "What the hell are YOU laughing at? Haven't you ever seen a hiker with dirty pants, and mud caked hands, arm, pants and shoes, before?"

"Ok, laugh it up, see if I care. Just remember...some Holiday in the future, I might have dinner with your wilder cousin!"

Yes, I slipped along the trail...twice.

I swear! The things I do to bring y'all a story. ;-D

Anyway I walked around the lake, following first Lakeview Dr., then Hermosa Dr., to the east side looking to see where the trail ended up.

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This view looks west, at the trail along the south side of the lake.



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Across the street are more Multi-use dirt trails heading off into the surrounding foothills.

Well, with the adventure thus concluded I walked east on Hermosa, to Harbor Blvd. to catch the bus.

The bus took me into downtown Fullerton where I saw the Chamber of Commerce and went looking for cycling and hiking maps.

I was here so why not?

I must have looked a fright walking in the door. ;-D

They suggested I meander a few blocks down the road to City Hall and check in with Parks and Rec.

The nice lady I chatted with there took my appeance more in stride. ;-D

The city map I got from her makes for a nice compliment to the City Trails website (28 miles worth, total.) and one I found, a while back, about the 11 mi. Single Track Fullerton Loop Trail.

When I inquired about the problems at Laguna Lake I was told the best place to inquire was across the street at the PD.

I was here so why not? Hee, hee! ;-D

So off I marched and entered the lobby of the Police HQ, looking like something the Cat dragged in. ;-D

When the amused looking Police Lady inquired as to my business, I explained, wavng my Cycling Dude Blog card and crossed my muddy fingers. ;-D

She hands me a Visitors Sticker and gives me directions to the Community Relations section, with instructions to ask for the Sgt. King mentioned in the AP story.

Well! How do you like that? This was turning out to be quite the adventure.

When I got to my next stop I proceeded to explain my mission to the Female Officer who approached me.

She called someone on the phone, apparently this Sgt..

In the process of all this I learned that LA TV Station, KNBC 4 had been snooping around wondering if there was surveillnace video and a mug shot of the miscreant!

In the immortal words of my favorite Vulcan... Fascinating!

"Hey, I'm interested in that too!", I pipe up, helpfully. ;-D

She got off the phone to tell me what she'd been told.

It seems that while dealing with the Mainstream Media is common place dealing with the New Media is a bit puzzling. ;-D

I told her I was interested in more than just that the trails were safe again, but which trails had been affected and the status of the case.

I told her that even if there had been video and a mug shot I couldn't have done with them what Ch. 4 would have done, and anyway that wasn't as interesting to me as the details of the case, what trails were affected and the fate of the  bad guy.

I explained that I had spent a little over a year doing stories about safety on bike trails in the OC and this story caught my attention.

She went off and came back with someone I assume was the Sgt. I had come to see.

The Officer was quite informative, and what she told me makes what this man did even more frightening and disturbing.

The guy, who lives in the area near the Park, was caught by investigators, questioned, and released.

Eventually Charges were leveled against the man for Vandalism and he will be brought to trail.

Why?

He alledgedly did more than dig 50 holes, a crime he admitted to.

He alledgedly left pieces of concrete and tree limbs in the middle of the trail in several places as well.

All because he didn't like the behavior of some bicyclists and decided to take the law into his own hands instead of calling Authorities.

Well, I guess we should be grateful the man didn't use a gun, right?

Jesushchristonabicycle!

I left my card, and though the case won't go to trial, or be decided, for a while yet, I hope to hear about it when the verdict is read.

***UPDATE: 10PM***

The OC REGISTER ONLINE has an interesting addition to the story in its report:

The trenches, which were hidden by brush and tree branches, were discovered by a city park ranger who reported them to the police. Detectives watching the trails periodically and went door-to-door to see if anyone knew who was digging the holes.

In early December, Fullerton police detective Chris Bradley saw a man walking along the trail with his dog. Bradley checked the trail after the man had left and found that a new trench had been dug, King said.

On Dec. 11, detectives set up surveillance on the trail and watched as the same man and his dog walked up the trail and left 15 minutes later, King said. Officers stopped the man, later identified as Wilson. When they checked the trail, officers found holes had been dug and a large piece of concrete and a branch had also been placed across the trail as obstacles to bicyclists.

FROM: Jan. 4th - Fullerton trail vandal charged with felony by Kimberly Edds

***END UPDATE***

January 7, 2008 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink

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Comments

What a complete jerk this man was.

I walk this trail several times a week, and if that guy almost got mowed down he must have had headphones on and his music too loud.

You can hear the bikers coming if you have your ipod at a reasonable level, and they almost always call out a warning as well.

I have found the bikers to be very polite.

And if one biker wasn't, that is hardly a reason to put so many people in danger.

A woman whose kids went to the local elementary school was paralyzed due to a biking accident there several years ago, and I can't imagine how much more awful it would have been to know something like that was due to deliberate vandalism.

Keep up the intrepid blogging!

Posted by: Beka | Apr 23, 2009 1:11:39 PM

If I was a crabby old man I probably would of done the same thing.

You cyclists, or whatever, need to be more Fucking considerate.

My 8yr old brother and I were run down by two cyclists that were racing.

He broke his leg, and had a severe concussion,
and I had to get 30 stitches.

Damn bikers, get a real hobby.

Posted by: victim | Jun 26, 2009 5:39:42 AM

I live and work in Fullerton, I ride my road and mountain bikes here, and I have never had any problems.

This creep endangered not just cyclists, but also equestrians, joggers and everyone else who uses these trails.

Fullerton has done a great job of creating the multi-use trails here.

It is reassuring to know that the Fullerton PD took this case seriously.

Posted by: Ken6000 | Aug 9, 2009 6:51:52 AM

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