“I think if you live in the city you’ve seen it. Where they just blow the lights, causing cars to stop quickly, causing cars to swerve, and that’s the reckless endangerment part of it,” said New Haven Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson, describing how people on dirt bikes and ATVs often ride through the city.
New Haven police say they’re putting an end to the joyrides. Officials on Monday announced they’re stepping up patrols for the bikers, after several arrests on Sunday.
“I was behind a group of 60 or 70 all doing wheelies, running red lights riding through people’s lawns riding through parks,” said Jacobson.
Nine people were arrested in total, seven in New Haven, and 12 bikes were taken into custody:
- Josue Colon, 20, Wethersfield, is charged with reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
- Gordon Farrell the 3rd, 22, West Haven, is charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, interfering with an officer, and an additional motor vehicle violation.
- Christopher Montefusco-Bicklell, 20, East Haven, is charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and larceny fifth degree.
- Kennie Negron-Soler, 25, New Haven, is charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, suspended operator’s license, and additional motor vehicle violations.
- Carmelo Piris, 42, New Haven, is charged with reckless driving, interfering with an officer, and additional motor vehicle violations.
- Jose Sanchez of Bonner, 20, Hartford, is charged with reckless endangerment, interfering with an officer, and engaging police in pursuit.
- A 15-year-old New Haven resident was released to a parent and charges have yet to be filed.
“Our patrol officers called in locations and our plainclothes officers got in positions to make arrests,” said Jacobson. He said police found some suspects under overpasses and they even used drones in the search.
Although only two were arrested from out of the area, police say a majority of the 60 were from the Hartford area.
“Earlier in the afternoon we made those arrests, they kind of got the message and they were gone.”
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says biking, including those who come from out of town, must stop.
“There’s lots of creative ways we’re using to make sure we catch people,” said Elicker. “If you come to New Haven you’re going to get caught so go elsewhere if you’re going to ride a dirt bike or ATV.”
This year, police will continue operations all summer to increase the safety of drivers and bikers.
“Yesterday they were all summonsed and released with misdemeanor charges,” said Jacobson. “But I’m saying in the future, we’re going to use every resource possible.”
Elicker says an ordinance is in the works that could make fines up to $1,000 and also cite gas stations that sell fuel to the bikers.
Anyone who knows of bikers that are riding ATVs and dirt bikes can make a report anonymously to police: ECIC@newhavenct.gov, or 203-946-6296