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As weather warms, GRPD sees spike in reckless drivers operating dirt bikes and ATVs

Officers arrested a man Monday at Burton and Division for reckless driving and fleeing and eluding a police officer.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As it starts to warm up outside, Grand Rapids Police see a spike in reckless drivers.

Officers say they're riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers in downtown Grand Rapids and surrounding neighborhoods.

This has been something the city has been dealing with for the last three years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic started, as fewer people were on the roads.

Chief Eric Winstrom says he's received a ton of complaints from concerned citizens asking him what police can do about this dangerous behavior.

Police dashcam video from May of 2021 shows illegally-operated dirt bikes and ATVs riding through downtown Grand Rapids. One of the drivers is seen whipping down the sidewalk.

"They're driving through flower beds and through yards," said Winstrom. "They're driving dangerously near pedestrians. Creating hazards for traffic. Driving on the Blue Bridge so extremely dangerous and really terrorizing people."

"What we've found is groups will congregate, often groups not residents of the city. They'll meet up outside the city and drive into the city together as a group, sometimes in a group of a dozen or 20, or sometimes hundreds." 

Officers arrested a man Monday at Burton and Division for reckless driving and fleeing and eluding a police officer.

According to Winstrom, a minute or two earlier, an officer using lights and sirens attempted to stop the man but he took off. The officer didn't pursue, however another officer spotted him at a red light and arrested him. 

"I've been very clear we're not going to initiate a high speed pursuit in these situations, but where we can safely take enforcement action we will, and it's important to let it be known these individuals will be placed in custody and face justice."

GRPD is looking to identify another person on an ATV at Burton and Division who the chief says committed a felony assault against a police officer. 

If you know who that is, you can contact Silent Observer or the Police Department.

    

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