Parks Dept. investigating after child got lost in Enterprise South park

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Hamilton County Parks Department is investigating after a 9-year-old mountain biker got lost in the woods during a race this weekend.

Tennessee Youth Mountain Bike Racing brought their third race this year to Enterprise South last Saturday. People from all over the southeast traveled to participate. Many left disappointed, some even angry, at how the park handled finding a lost child.

“I have been to a lot of races and have never seen anything like that,” said Aaron Hagan, a parent of one of the mountain bikers.

For seven years, TYMBR has hosted events at the Enterprise South Nature Park by the Volkswagen plant.

This year’s fall race had grown to encompass multiple trails at the park, so organizers ran tape to mark the boundaries of the course.

However, some of that tape came down to accomodate the park’s other visitors — an action being blamed for the a 9-year-old rider getting lost in the woods.

“My son finished and about a few minutes after he had finished, the park ranger pulled up and this commotion goes down. And then, I kinda learned that there’s a child that got lost because the tape that laid the course out had been taken down,” Hagan said. “Never once did I hear the park ranger ask if the child was okay.”

“The whole incident has become very out of control,” Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Director Tom Lamb said. “There were several interactions and miscommunications that led to the exaggeration as to what actually occurred, that led to some behaviors on the part of everybody involved, and that is definitely what we’re looking into.”

According to Lamb, the rangers did attempt to look for the rider. He was later found back on the course.

“Number one, the safety of the participants and the safety of our public is our first concern,” said Lamb. “Number two, we are dedicated to committing courteous service, professional service to everyone in the park.”

Lamb said he will continue to interview all those involved and take any actions necessary once the investigation is completed.

The event organizer Eric Pullen tells News 12 that he’s confident that the parks department will handle the issue appropriately.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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