NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Officials from the counties of Albemarle and Nelson warned people to stay away from dangerous private property Thursday. They said they are cracking down since Henry Morin, a Patrick Henry High School student, was killed after jumping into a private quarry earlier this month.
Following Morin’s death, leaders in Nelson County are making sure people get the message that quarries in the area are private property. Officials say 72 people have been arrested since January for swimming and jumping in the quarries.
“We don’t want to have to bring them to court, but if that’s the way we get the message across here in Nelson County,” Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Rutherford said, “what we will be doing is charging you with trespass.”
The quarries in the county are all on private property.
“It’s not a state park, it’s not a theme park,” Rutherford said. “It’s not a place with benches, it’s private property.”
Rutherford said the unknown materials found in quarries could pose as threats. Quarries have been referred to as industrial zones and mines.
“They are pits,” Rutherford explained. “They have equipment in them, they have a host of things that have abandoned since the 1930’s and some of these quarries run 160-feet deep.”
Officials say the unpredictability of what’s in a quarry can be the most dangerous threat.
“Not knowing what’s below the surface of that water,” said one deputy with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies will be patrolling the quarries during the day and into the night.
“We have a host of place where you can legally go and enjoy yourself to enjoy the beauty that we have. The quarries are not one of them,” Rutherford said.
People caught swimming in quarries could be charged with a misdemeanor. That means up to 12 months behind bars and/or a hefty fine. Officials said no amount of adrenaline is worth your life.