A local mountain biker says he rode into a thorny man-made trap while on a popular trail that left him bloodied and cut.
It happened Tuesday afternoon on a trail near Terry Hershey Park in west Houston.
Jeremy Paquette is often whizzing through these trails.
“I’m out here five-plus days a week,” Paquette said.
Known as the “Ant Hills,” these unpaved paths are nestled near Terry Hershey Park, a popular location for mountain bikers and those wanting to get close to Mother Nature.
“This year alone, I’m sure I’ve been out here 200 times,” Paquette said.
It's an area Paquette has safely navigated for more than two years, until earlier this week.
“I saw it when I was about even with this tree, but at that point, you’re going fast enough, I hit the brakes, couldn’t do much about it, clipped me, brought me to a dead stop,” Paquette said.
On Tuesday, Paquette had a close call when he rode his bike full speed ahead into a line of thorny vines. It doesn't sound that unusual, except, he says they were tightly strung across between some trees in the form of a trap, kind of like a clothesline.
“It was very hard to see as you come around that turn, between all the underbrush and trees,” Paquette said.
The impact left him bloodied and scarred across his forehead.
“I’m still really shocked that someone would do this, knowing that it could be anyone,” Paquette said.
He believes this was no coincidence.
“It’s everything, the height that it was at, where it was, how strong it was,” he said.
His suspicions heightened when he posted about his encounter on Facebook and got a message from a fellow cyclist claiming the exact same thing happened to him, in that very spot, the day before.
His moment of impact was caught on cell phone video.
“I just can’t imagine the same spot -- that’s lightning striking twice,” Paquette said.
The Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Deputies are now investigating. They, too, believe this was no accident, and it may stem from conflicts between walkers and cyclists who share the trail.
“If someone's going to do something like this, take this to the next level like this, we're going to investigate it. If we can, we're going to get charges on the person," said Assistant Chief Terry Allbritton, with Harris County Constable Precinct 5.
Paquette says other than some visible cuts, he’ll be all right, but he does have a message for whoever set the trap.
“I really hope people think about their actions. It’s not funny. You could have really hurt someone,” Paquette said.
Precinct 5 deputy constables say they will be investigating this as an assault case and will be monitoring the trails for similar traps. If you have any information on this case, you’re urged to give them a call.