Skip to main content

High school seniors' traditional ATV parade broken up by police

The North Branch Police Department has defended its actions, saying the parade was illegal.

Police in North Branch have explained why they broke up an ATV parade of seniors, after coming in for criticism for stopping the high school tradition.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, North Branch PD responded to a "great amount of calls, comments and concerns" about its decision to stop the parade of around 30 ATVs, dirt bikes and side-by-sides on Thursday morning.

It says its attention was originally drawn to the parade after someone made a driving complaint on the Athens Trail with one of the ATVs involved driving carelessly.

When officers caught up with the parade, they found all the vehicles riding up to 4 abreast on a public road and on the shoulder, while several others were riding in a ditch and jumping driveways.

As the department pointed out, DNR guidelines say most off-highway motorcycles (OHM) are not allowed anywhere except private property or designated trails, of "which we do not have any within the city."

Class 1 ATVs meanwhile can only go on county roads for agricultural purposes ("which this was not"), while Class 2 ATVs must stay on the far right of the road.

"With the violations of riding the ditch by all 3 styles, riding multiple abreast on the shoulder and lane of travel, it was decided to turn and stop the ATVs," the police said.

Police noted that one of the ATVs overtook a squad car while its lights were flashing, leading to a citation. Another was arrested and charged for fleeing the scene, and was caught later by the Chisago County Sheriff's Office.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The others didn't face any punishment, with a nearby property owner offering up their land to shift the ATVs onto until they could be collected.

Nonetheless, the department received a number of negative posts on its Facebook page, with some pointing out that the ATV parade is a well-known tradition that has been running for many years, while some accused police of overreacting.

Others defended the department however for upholding the law and ensuring the safety of the students, with police noting that several riders had "helmets" that were "nothing more than hard hats."

"If this had actually been done safely there would not have been cause for the stop," North Branch PD said. "The lead officer in the incident has been with the department since 2001 and is the first time he felt that intervention was warranted."

Next Up

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 5.20.08 PM

Gov. Walz reacts to Tuesday death of Mankato West student

The governor is a former geography teacher at the high school.

court room

Teen pleads guilty to Minneapolis carjacking, admits to others

The man was yanked out of the vehicle by witnesses before fleeing the scene.

Federal court house

Three plead guilty to roles in murder on Red Lake Reservation

The 2019 murder left another person seriously injured.


Sheriff: Heifer shot and butchered on farmer's pasture near Aitkin

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.


Minneapolis murder suspect arrested in Wisconsin

The man has been wanted by police since the shooting happened in April.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Charges: Man kidnapped woman at gunpoint, forced her to withdraw $1,500

The 56-year-old suspect is accused of forcing the woman to the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis.

police lights

Police arrest suspect in Oakdale after 10-hour standoff

The standoff with police lasted over 10 hours Friday.



ATV crashes into pair on Minnesota trail, leaving one dead

A 50-year-old died after being struck by the ATV, with police saying alcohol was involved.

ATV driver seriously injured in collision with deer

The 61-year-old is receiving treatment in the Twin Cities.

Wayzata High School

Racist graffiti found on side of Wayzata High School building

The school's principal confirmed the graffiti in an email to parents.


Man, 66, dies after his ATV was hit by a minivan on highway

It happened in Renville County Friday evening.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Boy, 12, killed in ATV crash near Monticello

The boy was driving the ATV on private property.

Burnsville woman killed in crash between ATV, motorcycle

The 23-year-old died a day after the crash.

Staff member injured breaking up a fight at a St. Paul high school

It comes less than 18 months after a teacher suffered a brain injury during a physical confrontation.