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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Friday August 27th, 2021 :: 07:32 p.m. PDT


Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Remote Rescue

Nature of Incident: Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Remote Rescue
Incident Number:
Los Padres National Forest – Halfmoon Trail / Piru Creek Trail
Unit(s) Responsible:
Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Ventura County Fire Department
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(P) Adult Male Gorman, CA 26
Narrative:   On Thursday, 8/26/21, at about 11:39 AM, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a family member of a male subject who was reportedly stranded on the Halfmoon Trail (20W07) after his dirt bike reportedly broke down.  The Halfmoon Trail is predominantly a single-track dirt bike trail rated as “most difficult.”  The Halfmoon Trail is in northern Ventura County in the Los Padres National Forest near Lockwood Valley.  The Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station initiated a response to the area.  The stranded rider had reportedly text messaged a family member to call 911 and relay the trail he was on.    
The Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station is outfitted with a Polaris RZR four-seat utility-task vehicle (UTV).  This UTV was purchased utilizing funding from the Ventura County Off-Highway Vehicle fund.  A Lockwood Valley resident deputy utilized the Sheriff’s RZR and responded to Halfmoon Trail to a point near where the rider was believed to be.  The deputy hiked about 0.3 miles and located the rider’s dirt bike on the trail, but the rider was not there.  The deputy followed the rider’s shoe prints for several miles which led to Sunset Campground at the intersection of the Lockwood Trail, Miller Jeep Trail, Halfmoon Trail, and Piru Creek Trail. 
At the campground, the deputy located a pair of dirt bike riding boots and a chest protector believed to belong to the missing rider.  After searching the area, the deputy located sock imprints in the dirt which led to the Piru Creek Trail. With temperatures over 90 degrees and the fact that the missing rider was walking in his socks in a remote area, additional resources joined the search including another Sheriff Lockwood Valley resident deputy and State Park Rangers from the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area.  The Lockwood Valley deputies work closely with the Ventura County Fire Department Fire Captains who staff Fire Station 16 in Lockwood Valley.  Fire Station 16 is also outfitted with a Polaris RZR four seat utility task vehicle (UTV-16).  Due to the changes in the search conditions and location, UTV-16 respond to assist with the search. 
One of the Lockwood Valley deputies and State Park Rangers began hiking west on the Piru Creek Trail from Gold Hill Campground.  The other Lockwood Valley deputy continued hiking east on the Piru Creek Trail following sock prints in the dirt.  After hiking about four and a half miles, the rider was located on the Piru Creek Trail.  The rider was fatigued and dehydrated but was able to hike a short distance back to Sunset Campground with the deputy.  UTV-16 met them at the campground and safely transported the rider to the Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station. 
The rider’s dirt bike was successfully recovered, and some valuable lessons were learned by the involved rider. When visiting the national forest, the age old saying “Proper planning prevents poor performance” couldn’t be truer.  It is imperative to recognize the trails difficulty ratings, with respect to the abilities of your vehicle and your abilities as its operator before proceeding into any off-highway vehicle areas.   
Many of the hazards and risks associated with OHV recreation in these remote areas can be mitigated by proper planning and preparation.  At a minimum, it is imperative to be familiar with the area you are in, have a map, be able to identify where you are on that map, have sufficient food and water, and ensure someone who is not with the group knows the details of your trip and when to report you as overdue.  Additional OHV safety information can be found at
The Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station credits this successful rescue to the outstanding partnerships and exceptional teamwork with the Ventura County Fire Department and California Department of Parks and Recreation Park Rangers. 
Prepared by: Deputy Sam Moss  
News Release Date: 8/27/21  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Deputy Sam Moss (661) 245-3829  
Approved by: Captain J. Rivera  

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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