Spending half the night parked by bridges is a Halloween tradition for the Pumpkin Patrol.
Patrol members volunteer to ensure no one throws pumpkins or other objects from the bridges on Halloween night. The patrol formed in 1962, a year after a driver was killed in North Ridgeville when someone threw a pumpkin or pumpkin-like object off a state Route 83 bridge, according to Keith Cook, a patrol volunteer.
Cook said Thursday that he was one of 16 volunteers who took part guarding bridges around the county, including state Route 2, U.S. Route 20 and the Ohio Turnpike. Volunteers on Thursday were all ham radio operators who communicated by ham radio rather than phones so they could all hear each other.
The patrol works in conjunction with the Ohio Highway Patrol, which appreciates the help.
“We wish to thank you and your volunteers on behalf of the law enforcement community for your assistance in preventing injury and property damage,” Lt. Travis Hughes, Ohio Highway Patrol’s Elyria post commander, wrote in a letter to the volunteer patrol.
Cook, a volunteer since 2009, said volunteers have decals on their vehicles and keep their running lights on.
Patrol members, who have no law enforcement powers, are to call police if they see suspicious activity and try to record the license plates of suspicious vehicles.
Cook said the last time they had to call police was in 2006 or 2007.
He said the presence of volunteers is a deterrent to people who might want to throw pumpkins as a prank.
“They know something’s going on,” Cook said. “We’re visible.”