Resident addresses non-highway vehicle issue with Streator council

Mayor said he will talk with police chief, see what can be done to curb activity

Seven months after addressing the Streator City Council about non-highway vehicles and dirt bikes traveling illegally throughout the city, resident Toni Pettit returned Wednesday to the council’s regular meeting to say the issue has not gotten any better.

She told the City Council she was almost struck on the 400 block of East Main Street by an ATV speeding along the downtown sidewalk at 8 a.m. on a Friday. She said she’s concerned someone will get seriously injured if the non-highway vehicles are not stopped.

Pettit asked if the Streator police could use its downtown surveillance to start nabbing offenders.

Mayor Jimmie Lansford said he didn’t have an immediate answer to her question, but he said he would pass the complaint to Streator Police Chief Robert Turner. He confirmed the issue was a community-wide one not limited to any one neighborhood and the mayor said he wanted to speak with the police chief to see what can be done from the council’s standpoint to put a stop to the illegal activity.

“If ordinances need to be passed, we’ll do so,” Lansford said.

Shortly after Pettit initially addressed the issue in April — telling the council then a non-highway vehicle sped past the Baldwin House across Kent Street from the City Park — the Streator police posted to Facebook saying officers would be enforcing regulations against non-highway vehicles. Pettit wasn’t the lone resident to voice complaints about the non-highway vehicles this spring, Streator resident Cindy Wolff said she almost collided with four of them on 12th Street.

It is illegal for any person to drive or operate a non-highway vehicle, which includes four-wheelers, golf carts, motor bikes, ATVs, UTVs, etc. upon any street, highway or roadway, the Streator police said. The majority of City Council members agreed earlier this year they are not interested in changing the law to allow for non-highway vehicles on city streets.

Council members have said in prior meetings the challenge with non-highway vehicles are catching the violators, who often speed away from the scene.

Drivers of the non-highway vehicles if any driver has been given a visual or audible signal by a police officer directing them to bring their vehicle to a stop, and willfully fails or refuses to obey such direction, increases his speed, extinguishes his lights, or otherwise flees or attempts to elude the officer, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, Streator police have said in regard to the issue.

City Manager David Plyman has previously suggested police may be able to enforce the illegal activity similar to how it enforces speed limits.