Irondale Police ask off-roaders to stay off private trails - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Irondale Police ask off-roaders to stay off private trails

The entrance to the trail where Kari Thomas was killed while off-roading Saturday night. Source: WBRC video The entrance to the trail where Kari Thomas was killed while off-roading Saturday night. Source: WBRC video
Irondale Police Sgt. Jason Hill says many off-roaders ignore or remove "no trespassing" signs like this one. Source: WBRC video Irondale Police Sgt. Jason Hill says many off-roaders ignore or remove "no trespassing" signs like this one. Source: WBRC video
IRONDALE, AL (WBRC) -

Irondale police are still investigating the off-road accident that killed a woman Saturday night.

Twenty-six-year-old Kari Thomas drowned when the off-roader she was riding in flipped while crossing the Cahaba River.

Tonight Irondale police are warning other riders to stay off these trails.

Irondale police say many unmarked trails are on private property and often have "no trespassing" signs, but that's not stopping dozens of off-roaders who investigators say probably aren't equipped to handle this terrain. They're worried something like this could happen again.

Irondale police say the driver of the off-road vehicle that flipped over in the Cahaba River told investigators they had made that crossing at least half a dozen times with no problems, but on Saturday night, one of the vehicle's wheels got stuck.

When the driver tried to back out, the off-roader flipped over and Thomas couldn't escape.

"This is a problem I don't think just the Irondale Police Department faces, I think Trussville, possibly even the county. Since all these trails go back through there, I think a lot of property owners are frustrated," Sgt. Jason Hill with Irondale PD said.

Irondale police say they're alarmed by how many riders ignore or remove no trespassing signs like one posted at the entrance to the trail where Thomas died.

"I was out there and I couldn't believe, it kind of was shocking that there was so many teenagers," Sgt. Hill said.

"They were equipped with a four-wheel drive pickup or SUV, but really and truly a teenager, or anybody with a four-wheel drive vehicle, even though it's a pickup, they have no business being out on those trails, it's just not safe," he stated.

Sgt. Hill says the reality is thrill-seekers will probably still try these trails, but he cautions drivers to constantly focus on safety.

"Is this a safe move? Should I be doing this? Is this vehicle equipped to handle this trail? A lot of times people just don't think about the safety aspect," Hill said.

The case is going to the District Attorney in the next couple of days. There is no decision on whether criminal charges will be filed, although they are unlikely.

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