Berkley police investigating ‘reckless’ ATV, dirt bike riders

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 19, 2020


BERKLEY — A few weeks ago in the city of Berkley, local police were involved in a pursuit involving a group of riders “recklessly” driving dirt bikes and ATVs.

According to a Berkley Public Safety Department report, multiple patrol vehicles followed a group of approximately 30-40 ATV and dirt bike riders at nearly 8 p.m. Sept. 13. An initial patrol vehicle first noticed the group driving eastbound on 12 Mile Road.

The group of riders ignored the lights of the Berkley police vehicle and continued driving on 12 Mile. Police observed during the encounter that some of those motorists involved started driving in the opposite lane of traffic and performed wheelies on their vehicles. The riders moved to southbound Woodward Avenue, where more patrol vehicles joined the pursuit, though their calls to pull over also were ignored.

“Officers followed the Riders with Emergency Lights and Sirens on, as riders taunted Officers by cutting off their lane of travel, riding next to patrol vehicles with cell phone cameras pointed at them, and yelling profanity at units,” the report read. “Riders continued to drive recklessly down (southbound) Woodward and performed tricks on their vehicle and accelerated at high speeds. … Riders swerved in and out of lanes and also drove through red lights without due regard.”

During the pursuit, one rider pulled his black motorcycle next to one of the patrol vehicles and kicked the door with his left foot while on his bike. The vehicle was not damaged, according to police.

Detective Lt. Andrew Hadfield said Berkley is investigating the issue with other nearby agencies that have had similar issues with the same group of riders.

“(Through) the initial investigation, a lot of the vehicles have no license plates on them,” he said. “We do have some images of some of the people and are working on attempting to make contact with individuals that were involved.”

Police continued their pursuit until they decided to terminate it at southbound Woodward and 10 Mile Road. The riders continued driving on Woodward into Pleasant Ridge and Ferndale.

Hadfield said every decision to continue a pursuit has to be evaluated based on the vehicle that’s being pursued, the conditions of the situation and the driver’s actions.

“(Due to) their reckless actions of driving out of their lane, attacking the police car, the sheer amount of volume of people that were there that were disregarding (police), attempting to continue to pursue that did not make sense in regards to the safety of the community,” he said. “We have other investigative means by attempting to identify the people that were involved and that’s what we’ll be working on, but when people are going to … blatantly disregard the traffic laws and put everyone else in danger, our job is to keep the community safe (by) enforcing traffic laws and … making sure that everybody else is obeying the laws and doesn’t get injured by somebody like this.”

This reportedly wasn’t the first encounter Berkley Public Safety had with the group of riders, as Hadfield said there was another incident around the weekend of the Woodward Dream Cruise in August.

“It does appear to be a large group of people within the same organization,” he said. “Several of them were wearing T-shirts with the same logo on it. ... I believe that they’re a riding group out of Detroit.”