Woman surprised at criminal charge for dog walk on West Davis Corridor trail

Oct 3, 2023, 6:44 PM | Updated: 6:57 pm

KAYSVILLE — A Davis County woman says she was criminally charged for taking her dogs on a walk, and explains she got conflicting information from two different police officers on whether or not she was OK to walk on the West Davis Corridor trail.

On her daily jaunt with her dogs, Claire Allred passes by the under-construction West Davis Corridor. Over the past couple of months, that has including seeing a paved walking path.

“The walking trail is pretty much finished,” she said. Allred talked about how she’s seen neighbors and other people starting to use the path. Where she accesses the area, there’s a “do not enter” sign for oncoming traffic from the other direction. Allred believed it was for the corridor road itself and not the trail.

“It’s just really open, and it seems like it’s OK to use,” she said, walking up to the area where she has been hopping on the trail. “And I have been told that.”

Allred said she was told it was OK by a Layton police officer who she said had stopped her one day, while she was on a run on the West Davis Corridor road.

“He just stopped me and said, ‘I know you’re just running, but UDOT has asked us to ask people to stay off the road. But they are OK with you using the walking path,’ ” she recounted. “And so, I have been using the walking path.”

Then earlier this month, Allred described how a Kaysville officer stopped her as she walked her dogs on the path near Shoreline Junior High.

She said he took down her information from her driver’s license, and indicated he was sending it to the Kaysville city attorney. Last weekend, she got a knock on the door. An officer handed her a piece of paper. Allred began to read it.

“It says, ‘A criminal summons,’ and then just gives the case number, and then, ‘A Criminal Information has been filed, charging that you committed the crime of Count 1: Pedestrian Travel Prohibited on West Davis Corridor During Construction, a violation of Kaysville City Code,” Allred read, looking down at the paper.

The Kaysville city attorney had charged her with a crime from that corridor dog walk, and she was being summoned to attend court.

Claire Allred reads the court summons explaining a criminal charge from her West Davis Corridor dog walk (Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV)

“I kind of was a little bit nervous, but also a little bit like, this is a bit ridiculous,” Allred expressed. “Like, why are they wasting all these resources on me walking my dog?”

She felt it was overkill and was wondering why she wasn’t given a ticket on the spot.

“To like, serve me papers, have me come before a judge. Like, it just seems a bit over-the-top,” she said.

Mitch Shaw, UDOT spokesman, explained that they are working with local law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement, and that it has become necessary because of too many issues over the past two years of construction.

“We continued to have trespassing issues throughout the duration of construction. Crazy stuff happening out there,” he said. “Anything from people driving their snowmobiles. We’ve had people ride their dirt bikes, ride their cars on things like unfinished grade, and that’s created a problem for us.”

He said at first, UDOT took an educational approach. They were only warning people and installed additional signs at access points that specifically say no walking or biking in the work zone.

UDOT said crews put out extra signs warning people to stay away from West Davis Corridor. (KSL TV)

They’ve also sent out alerts on social media, hosted a media event, and created an email list to send people updates on the project, he explained.

“[Tresspassing has] continued to happen, that I think we’ve kind of had to take a different approach,” he said.

Now, police are cracking down. Kaysville Police expressed the same sentiments to KSL TV, echoing what Shaw said.

West Davis Highway expected to be completed early

Shaw explained that construction zones change daily, and it’s a safety issue if people enter the work area.

“We just we don’t want people in the construction zone at all. So, you can’t be on the trail. You can’t obviously be on the road,” he said. “Just stay out of the construction zone.”

Allred thought she was OK, especially based on the conversation she said she had with the first officer.

“I wouldn’t have been on there if they had told me like, stay off the walking path,” she said.

Now she’ll be walking through the court process for that criminal charge, and said she’ll be staying off the path. UDOT anticipates opening part of the corridor potentially later this year or in 2024, and Shaw said and when they do, they will make an official announcement letting everybody know it is open and ready to travel on.

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Woman surprised at criminal charge for dog walk on West Davis Corridor trail