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[RC] See if you can open this. - D'Arcy Demianoff-Thompson


On January 3, 2009, Jeri Sust and Barbara Heyward started a quiet trail ride in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. They parked their horse trailers at Sterling Pointe equestrian staging area and started down the trail at 11:30 A.M.  Approximately 45 minutes later, three young men on dirt bikes came up fast behind the riders. According to Matt Burmaster who witnessed the incident, loud revving engines and the high rate of speed caused the animals to become rightened and they bolted. Shortly, both riders fell off their running horses. According to Burmaster, the riderless horses continued up the trail at a fast gallop.


After a short pause the bikers continued after the running horses rather than assisting the fallen riders.  Jeri Sust and her horse, Toby Sust found her horse, Toby, one-quarter mile away. In his attempt to escape the speeding bikes, he was fatally injured with a fractured hind leg. Two hours later, Toby was euthanized by Dr. Abrahams, DVM.


California State Park Rangers, Folsom Lake Mounted Patrol and emergency personnel responded to the scene. It was determined both women were severely bruised with possible rib fractures. Sust struck her head and her helmet was destroyed.  This incident is the latest chapter in the ongoing safety problem with illegal motorized and mechanized bike riders on Folsom Lake trails. Equestrian groups have requested State Park Rangers be assigned to hot spots on the trails where speeding bikes are causing conflicts.


Equestrian Jaede Miloslavich said, "I have been riding for over 40 years and am very experienced. However, I am no longer riding the Lower or Pioneer Express Trail on the weekends. Because of the dirt bikes and four wheelers are on our trails, it is just too dangerous." Because some trails are narrow, steep and lack sight lines to be safely shared with fast bikes, those such as the Pioneer Express Trail are limited to hikers and equestrians only. Mountain bikes do have access to many multi-use trails at Folsom, but not to those trails deemed unsafe or erosion prone. According to the Rangers, motorized dirt bikes are not allowed anywhere at Folsom Lake State



There are several leads in this case and the Folsom Lake Supervising Ranger leading the investigation, Tim Guardino, said that there are many areas close by set aside for dirt bikes, he is puzzled why they are riding illegally in the park.  Guardino said the investigative unit is close to identifying the suspects.


CONTACTS for this story:

Injured riders

Barbara Heyward 916- 652-4781

Jeri Sust 916-663-4175

Witness Matt Burmaster 916-919-6397

District Superintendent, California State Parks, Gold Fields District

Scott Nakaji 916 988-0205

Folsom Lake Sector Superintendent Dan Tynan 916 988-0205 ext 226

California State Park Supervising Ranger (leading investigation) Tim Guardino 916-257-7077

Emaild:  tguardino@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Action Coalition for Equestrians (ACE) Jaede Miloslavich 530-346-9933

Folsom Lake trails advocate and laison Donna Williams 916-652-6436

D'Arcy L. Demianoff-Thompson

"Go Ball State University Cardinals"