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TROUBLESHOOTERS: ATV disturbances in Peoria County

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(HOI) -- "It was a junk yard. There was a house that sunk over there, but it was also a field too of just corn. An old farmer owned it," said June Sleater.

Yeah it was quiet around here when I was young... We never had anything like this."

Sleater says this now wooded area in Limestone Township is home to frequent ATV traffic.

Jessica Cook asked Sleater what happened when she caught the drivers on camera.

"They just kept doing what they were doing. See nothing seems to affect them."

She said ATV drivers are in a lot near the area of Fremont and Sarah at all hours of the day.

"We hear them at 3 and 10 o'clock at night and when you put like 8 or more over there doing this in the daytime and at night the sound intensifies and it shakes my windows."

Jessica Cook saw several tire tracks left behind.

Sleater added this problem has been going on for years.

"It's tearing up the land. It smells in my house from their fuel and they just don't see a problem with that and I think it's rude behavior... These are grown people."

She called Troubleshooters because she felt no one was listening to her problem.

"It's like we can't get anything done and I called a board member and that went no where and that was three months ago."

She said she's called the Peoria County Sheriff's Office more than half a dozen times, but she said a deputy doesn't always respond.

Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said last year there were 48 calls to the South Laramie Street area regarding ATVs and this issue isn't new.

Sheriff Asbell said, "I'll be pretty blunt about this -- our staffing levels -- we have one officer working this area."

The Peoria County Sheriff's Office serves more than 130 square miles.

Asbell said by the time a deputy gets there the vehicles are gone.

The area leads to a wooded spot that gives drivers access to Kickapoo Creek Valley.

The sheriff said there have been proactive details in the area.

"We have a 0 tolerance for pursuits unless it's a forcible felony... There's a risk to the public too and I don't want to be sitting in this office one day saying we killed a child because we were chasing an ATV for what I would consider a minor offense," said Asbell.

When it comes to ATV laws in Illinois, Asbell said you can't operate one that isn't suitable for street, meaning it has to be registered and insured.

When it comes to private property, DUI or reckless driving can be enforced.

The driver must have legal access to the property or else it's trespassing.

Even if these drivers have permission to be here, Sleater said she just wants the noise to stop at odd hours.

"You can't get any help to fix the problem and it's a residential area. I pay my property taxes and I just want peace and quiet," added Sleater.

"These are valid concerns by the community members. They truly are, we know that...We're trying to do the best we can and we have to triage our calls, meaning that if what I'll consider a more dangerous call where a health safety issue is in play, that's going to take precedence over a motor vehicle violation in the area. It's just what it is," said Asbell.

Jessica Cook

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