Franklin County Health Officer orders ORV park closed

first_imgPhotos by Dennis Brown and Bridget HayesLaurel, IN—Saturday afternoon, Franklin County Health Officer Doctor Darrell Brimhall secured an order to officially close Haspin Acres off-road vehicle park.  Officials have spent several days researching legal precedent and current case law to ensure legal standards were met and followed in securing the order.During this time, Franklin County Commissioner Tom Linkel spoke with representatives of Haspin Acres by telephone.  Friday morning, Commissioner Linkel spoke with the manager of Haspin Acres, asking their cooperation in placing voluntary restrictions to the park.  However, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department received numerous complaints regarding traffic being backed up in the area of the park.According to The Observer, the fiasco started last when some of Franklin County’s volunteer first responders filed a complaint about Haspin Acres being open. The first responders are already coping with a hot spot of coronavirus in this county, which has 50 cases and 6 deaths in a small rural county of only 23,000 people. The first responders worried that they would be called to Haspin Acres, as has happened in the past, and they would not be available to serve county residents. First responders indicated that they could be cited for “neglect of duty,” if they failed to respond to a call from Haspin Acres.Last Monday, Franklin County officials issued a release stating per the Governor’s order, Haspin Park, a recreation area, was permitted to stay open like the State Parks. Friday night, April 3, Air Care was called to Haspin Acres, which has been confirmed by Franklin County E911 to transport a female that had rolled a jeep.The small town of Laurel, Indiana, which has one main road through town had a traffic jam this Saturday morning, April 4, 2020. Trucks coming from Ohio and pulling flatbed trailers with dune buggies and dirt bikes were lined up through Laurel to go to Haspin Acres. Sheriff deputies were dispatched to Laurel to clear the traffic jam and make room for emergency vehicles to reach Laurel, if needed.According to officials, there is no timeline when Haspin Acres will be allowed to reopen.Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies spent several hours clearing traffic and educating visitors on the importance of following their respective state’s “Stay-at-Home” orders.  No charges have been filed at this time.  Should the park be found in violation of the Health Officer’s order, park officials could face a class B misdemeanor.  Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines if a person is convicted.last_img

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