Reward offered for information about Brooke Pioneer Trail vandalism

BEECH BOTTOM — After a bridge on the Brooke Pioneer Trail was vandalized last weekend, trail representatives are offering a $2,000 reward for information about the incident.

Members of the Brooke Pioneer Trail Association found the Harrison Run Bridge, located south of Beech Bottom, significantly damaged this week, as railings on the bridge appear to have been ripped down.

Now, the association is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator. The reward was made possible through private donations, said Doug Wayt, co-president of Ohio Valley Trail Partners, who also works with the Brooke group.

“It’s very sad that people would take something out on an innocent victim like our bridge. This bridge is vital,” Wayt said.

The bridge was built about 10 years ago by the West Virginia National Guard Engineering Squadron based in Moundsville, Wayt said. A sign thanking the entity that hangs on the bridge was also found to be torn off, he said.

“Why did they need to do this? There’s no purpose to act like this,” Wayt said. “We think Brooke Pioneer and anybody in the area who uses the bridge would like to see them caught and penalized.”

The bridge is a necessary part of the trail, which spans from Wellsburg to Short Creek and connects to the Wheeling Heritage Trail, said Ruby Greathouse of the Brooke Pioneer Trail Association.

On top of being used by pedestrians and cyclists, the trail serves as the alternative route to state Route 2 for emergency vehicles of Brooke County, she said.

“Ambulances come over to our trail and cannot do that now,” Greathouse said.

Greathouse also noted that Brooke County first responders told her using the trail route can save about 18 minutes to transport a patient to Wheeling Hospital compared to using back roads

“I’m a very frustrated person right now because I didn’t understand what they gained by doing it,” she said of the vandalism. “I’m having trouble.”

To provide information, people can contact the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department or the trail association at (304) 737-0506.