Ludlow police say they have been dealing with a gang. But not the type of gang you might expect. Chief Jeffrey Billings of the Ludlow Police department says a Drift Trike gang has formed in town.
"The last couple of years they have come to a forefront. And we had people complaining they almost ran into them. They are forcing cars off the roadway," Billings said.
Drift Trikes are modified three-wheelers that can reach speeds of more than 30 mph. The idea is to gain speed and drift side to side. Billings says the group of riders can often be found on several public roads, including the Okemo Access road. The trikes have no brakes, and Billings says there have been countless close calls. But Sunday, one of those close calls nearly took the lives of two riders.
"Apparently two drifters either racing or coming down side by side-- a vehicle heading up the mountain-- and they collided in the operator of the motor vehicles lane of travel. They just ran right into the front of his car," Billings said.
Both riders were airlifted in critical condition. Billings says one drifter is recovering, but the other remains in critical condition. And now, Billings says he is looking to take action and get rid of the trikes.
"I'm going to push the town to see if we can do an ordinance and ban these from our streets," Billings said. "And I know that may sound tough, but I think we have to do something before someone gets killed."
Ludlow's town manager says they are gathering information and will back the police department's push to ban the trikes. But not everyone is on board with the ordinance.
"It was a great event that they had," said Bruce Schmidt, the vice president of Okemo Mountain Resort.
Schmidt says for two years, riders have flocked to the mountain for a Trike Rally. Schmidt says Mountain Road is owned by the state, but is closed off for the event. He says in a controlled setting, he sees no reason for a ban.
"It is something that people enjoy," Schmidt said. "We are willing to support that through Okemo. We are very supportive with our events department when this happened."
He says people should be able to use state resources how they choose. Although it may not be a traditional use of the scenic and winding road, he says riders should be free to cruise.
The proposed ordinance will be heard at a select board meeting Monday night. The town manager says no decisions will be made right away.