Joggers receive citations

Monday, February 11th 2008, 7:24 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

Several joggers will have to shell out hundreds of dollars for running through a construction site near Lake Hefner. It's been an ongoing problem for developers and for the city.

The owner of Markwell Paving, who's overseeing the construction near Lake Hefner, says on average they're about 50 joggers who ignore posted signs and run through the property.

Police are now issuing citations to four people.

Robert Elder is a man who loves to run, as much as 20 miles a week. This trail along Lake Hefner is one of his favorite spots.

"The good thing about going around the lake is that it's a long run, and once you get started, it's pretty much a long run and you're going to finish," Elder said.

But on Saturday, that quest for cardio came at a high price. Elder and three other joggers were cited for running through this construction zone. The charge they were given was for trespassing. Elder disagrees with the ticket, saying the actual site was about one-fourth of a mile from where he was stopped and there was no construction going on at the time.

"The city could have accomplished their goals by saying, ‘You'll have to turn around and go back and don't come back'," Elder said.

But the area is clearly marked with signs forbidding vehicles and pedestrians from going through. So it was strictly a safety issue, according to Oklahoma City Police Department Sgt. Gary Knight.

"We're charged with protecting the public," Knight said. "And, if we see somebody entering an area we feel is unsafe, it's part and parcel of what we do."

Last August, a teenager was killed while walking through a construction zone near Wiley Post Airport. Police say last weekend's citations are not a crackdown in response to that tragedy. But, it seems to have worked.

"It's a beautiful place to run and we'll wait until the construction work is finished and try to make friends with the police again," Elder said.

And those citations will cost those joggers at least $167 apiece.

Police say even if there is no construction going on, there is still a level of danger inside a construction area.