Police Break Up Illegal Street Luge on Mt. Weather

The sport of street luge at a sanctioned event - Photo credit Wikipedia.com

The winding curves and steep grades on Blue Ridge Mountain Road (Route 601) in Clarke County instill a sense of caution in most people that travel the treacherous road, but for one group of extreme sport buffs it presented an opportunity for a thrill.

The road runs along the ridge line of Mount Weather and offers beautiful views drawing drivers and motorcyclists from all over the area who venture out for a scenic drive. However, on the weekend of November 13th, law enforcement officials responded to two serious accidents on Route 601. The Virginia State Police and Clarke County Sheriff’s office worked two separate motorcycle accidents one of which involved a fatality. While working the incidents, Clarke County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Thompson received two calls, one from an ambulance, the other from a tow truck driver, both of whom were called to the scene of the fatal accident, alerting police to a dangerous situation both drivers had witnessed.

The drivers reported seeing a group of people racing down the mountain on over-sized skate boards on Route 601 near Route 50. Deputy Thompson said he responded to the area and found a group of adults and one 17 year old, racing down the mountain engaged in a street luge. The extreme sportย  involves large boards with over-sized wheels mounted on skateboard trucks. Riders typically travel feet-first and can reach speeds in excess of 60 mph. Sanctioned races are held on closed courses that are inspected and have barriers installed at dangerous turns. However, the gathering that was discovered on the mountain was an extremely dangerous and illegal version of the sport.

Deputy Thompson described the scene, “The riders would start down hill and a vehicle would track behind the rider with their emergency flashers on.” The riders steer by leaning their board and brake with their feet. “This is highly dangerous and totally unsafe,” remarked Deputy Thompson.

Thompson collected the riders at the base of the hill and discovered that it is a known location for this type of event. Several of the riders said that they “do it all the time” and have never had a problem. Deputy Thompson spoke to the group at length about the dangers of the road, the reality of which was driven home by a fatal motorcycle crash only a short time before their illegal gathering.

No citation was written and Thompson said he felt like the message to the group was received loud and clear.

But, the street luge phenomenon appeared again that day only a short time later. This time just across the Clarke County line on Route 7 in Loudoun. A 911 call came in approximately three hours later that a group of lugers were racing down the busy stretch of eastbound Route 7. Thompson said the description sounded like it was a different group than the ones he had spoken to earlier in the day. However, there was no sign of the group when law enforcement arrived on scene.

The disturbing trend has been noted by the Sheriff’s office. Thompson said he intends to keep an eye on the mountain for dangerous activity based on the events of that tragic weekend.

 

The video below is in no way connected to the incident, but does demonstrate the type of activity encountered on the mountain.

Comments

  1. Dang! That’s a long road and hardly any traffic in that video! The rider is lucky he didn’t hit any potholes or animals crossing as it looked pretty rural. I can definitely see how one would get an adrenaline rush from this, but it should be done safely with barriers!! Wonder how fast he was going and if he posted the video from his leg camera (which would be totally wicked to see!).

  2. I swear! You just can’t have any fun at all anymore

  3. Imagine meeting a deer on THAT contraption…sheesh!

    • Imagine meeting a CAR on that thing! Sheesh indeed! Natural selection is one thing but I pity the poor, unfortunate driver who is involved. I find it shocking how many of you people obviously take this lightly. I don’t encourage teen drinking but it is one heck of a lot safer than this if they don’t drive. Maybe even if they do.

  4. The Shocker says:

    Is this any more./less dangerous than a lycra clad cyclist (which is perfectly legal)?

    • I don’t enjoy coming around a bend to find a bicycle in my path, but at least they are in the same lane, going in the same direction, and I can wait to pass them when it is safe. I would hate to come around a bend and find some idiot, lying on a skateboard, coming at me feet first at 60mph. One of us is likely to die – me if I swerve to avoid him, or him if I don’t. No one deserves that if they didn’t ask for it.

  5. Because I Care says:

    They would be more visible if they did this standing upright. ( ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  6. clarke conservative says:

    “Didn’t I buy you a brand new pair of shoes last week? I cannot imagine what do you do to wear them out so fast?”

  7. Way to tell blow the secret about the hill jerks… I hope they keep racing. A note to people interested in luging, ride safe, early, and keep your mouths shut. Try not to ruin it for the rest of us.

  8. Stonebroke says:

    Is this against the law? What is the offense? Just curious?

  9. Roscoe Evans says:

    The offense is having fun in Clarke County while a minor.

    Just check out the signs in Berryville– No cycling, no skateboarding, no skating, no smiling, no giggling… It’s no wonder that some of these kids resort to the bottle and drink themselves to death.

  10. Hey maia, publicity is an awesome thing. The residents on 601 are now fully aware of this rediculous stunt and will be notifiying law enforcement whenever they even think you guys are out there. This is now very much on law enforcement’s radar so I’m fairly certain no more warnings will be issued. To answer Stonebrook’s question; reckless endagerment is the most likely prosecuteable offense and Sunny Perka most likely will prosecute aggresively. Lugers — do everyone a favor and find something more productive to do with your time. Clarke County Volunteer Fire/Rescue and the Sherriff’s Department are busy enough without this nonsense.

    • Clarke Life says:

      When has she pursued anything aggresively???

    • I don’t believe a broad reckless endangerment exists….you have it when dealing with firearms, or driving a car, but I don’t know that this particuliar situations is included in anything.

      Wonder if this falls under jaywalking? They are essentially pedastrians in a street.

    • Maybe we’ll just do it at night when all of you 601 mountain mushrooms are asleep, 3AM perhaps. Plus, less traffic. How does this affect the residents if they are not out driving? Answer, it doesn’t, so mind your own business.

      • Right Winger says:

        Go ahead. Just don’t expect rescue services to come scrape you off the mountain or cut you out of a tree you’ve impaled yourselves on.

        • They’ll be there. They took an oath!

          • been here a long time says:

            what do you mean by”they took an oath”. Yes, they will come and scrap you up, but will you be grateful? Somehow, you believe that you have the right to get a volunteer out of bed in the dark of night because you choose to something dangerous and dumb. Do you give money to support the services that you will need? You want to Luge do it somewhere that is safe.

          • Sage of the Mountain says:

            Sid. Sid. Sid. Took an oath? Where is that bushel basket? Definately dont know much about fire and rescue.

          • They may be there, but my guess is it won’t matter, it will be too late!!

  11. This is unacceptable!!! But…. man it sure would be a blast to try! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. livein22611 says:

    No citations were issued? Why not? But they did receive a stern talking to. Gee, bet that works. I’m tired of police not following through and ticketing people. Stop taking the easy way out. Next time I’m going down Rt. 7 just a little above the speed limit please just give me a lecture. I’ll even promise not to do it again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. would love to see pics or video.. ya know they took some!