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June 2, 2010

Dirt bike rider crashes into car; assaults driver

The driver of an illegal dirt bike plowed through a red light at a West Baltimore intersection on Wednesday and broadsided a red sedan, but the most serious injuries suffered by the car’s driver didn’t come from the crash, according to city police.

A department spokesman said a passenger on the dirt bike quickly hid the cycle in an alley and then returned with friends who beat up the car’s driver so severely that he had to be rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The car is above in a photo by The Sun's Jed Kirschbaum.

The teen-aged bike passenger was arrested and faces charges of assault. The driver of the bike was catapulted in the crash and suffered broken bones to his arm and wrist, said police spokesman Donny Moses. He also has been admitted to Shock Trauma and faces charges related to motor vehicle infractions and driving an illegal dirt bike, Moses said.

Conditions on the patients were not immediately available.

Wednesday’s accident at South Monroe and West Pratt streets is the latest involving an illegal dirt bike, which are prevalent during the hot summer months. Teens and others typically ride in packs, threatening pedestrians and other motorists as they race and perform wheelies and other stunts in traffic.

A 44-year-old motorcyclist from Greenbelt was killed Sunday after he crashed into a pole at Gilmor and Fayette streets when he lost control swerving to avoid a dirt bike whose operator was carrying a 2-year-old child.

Dirt bikes are nearly impossible for city police to stop. Officers are forbidden to chase them because it’s deemed too dangerous and have to rely on other means to combat the problem. The helicopter often follows groups around and notifies officers on the ground when they stop.

Police in some districts hand out fliers urging residents if they see a dirt bike parked in their neighborhood that they should call police. And a new law takes effect Oct. 1 that makes it illegal for gas station owners to dispense gas to dirt bikes. Also, Moses said officers have heard of gas station owners charging extra fees to fill dirt bike tanks.

The latest crash occurred about 11:30 a.m. Moses said the dirt bike driver, whose name and age was not immediately released, was driving south on Monroe Street and ran a light at Pratt. After the crash, which dented the driver’s side door of the red sedan, Moses said the passenger pushed the dirt bike into an alley and hid it in an open stairwell basement.

Moses said the youth returned with friends and beat the car’s driver until police arrived a few minutes later. Officers also retrieved the dirt bike. Of the car’s driver, Moses said, “Most of his injuries came as a result of the assault and not of the accident.”

“Dirt bikes are an obvious problem that we’re working tirelessly to abate,” Moses said.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 5:21 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Breaking news, Confronting crime, West Baltimore


This should be more of a story than a blog post. This is a big problem in the city that is getting out of control. We need to organize and eradicate them because it is obvious that the city has taken a lame stance. Any ideas?

We seriously need to hire some bounty hunters to catch these outlaw thugs. I'll throw in a hundred bucks to start.

Dirt bikes are not the problem. I own a dirt bike and have never run a red light, done wheelies down a public street, cutoff others on a motorcycle, nor assaulted anyone while riding. It is not the dirt bikes, it is the dirtbags on the bikes.

Another reason we should be able to carry guns to defend ourselves

I like this quote
“Dirt bikes are an obvious problem that we’re working tirelessly to abate,”

My question is what happened to the police officers on dirt bikes a few years ago that were supposed to be available to deal with this situation? We need them back and in West Baltimore to deal with this mess. How the Baltimore City police are working tirelessly on this problem escapes me since the police are not allowed to chase them.

Again I ask where is the outrage from the law-abiding people of Baltimore? Where are the protests in the streets? When are we going to fight back? The war is over; the criminals have won. They run red lights and crash their dirt bikes into cars then assult the driver of the car???? But a maniac dying from a taser after fighting cops after crashing his own car results in outcry from the community? This is Bazzarro World and we're living in it.

The police are too busy with no-knock warrants into citizens homes to deal with real problems like tihs.

The dirt bike groups are a major image problem - a symbol of lawlessness. Everyone knows, the riders and the residents, that the official Baltimore Police policy is to leave these bikes alone. I have never seen or heard of any situation like this in any other city I have lived in.

everyone wants to treat the problem, but no one wants to get to the root of it. it's really easy to dismiss all these kids as worthless thugs that we should eradicate. or the police should somehow lock up forever. except we don't have space in the jails, money to do it, or the proper kind of police work. they are just another gang of thugs. i've lived in this city 30 years and people are plenty outraged on the internet these days, but the city is nowhere near as violent as in the 90s

I don't get it....If I were doing stupid [stuff] like this in my car....! The police would pursue and chase me. Why not them?

I live in the in the thick of it. Yesterday a rider rode up and down my TINY street. I just really wanted to push his ass off of it. The police NEED to do something or somebody will take it into their own hands.

I say throw sticks in the spokes and watch them flip onto their little brained nuggets. LMAO!

How many more deaths, or near-death beatings before something is done. I don't give a damn about how much better things are than in whatever decade. The police have basically admitted defeat in this situation and we are left to deal with the problem. When they buzz my wife's car as she drives home, I see that as her life being threatened. How should someone behave when their loved one's lives are in danger. I've been in the military for 14 years. I know one way to behave. If the city will not respond someone should. Maybe soon, someone will.

My beautiful soul of a brother was the one killed on Gilmor on May 30, 2010. I wished he had for a split second been selfish and save his own life rather than that of a low-life, dirty street urchin. Why is the city waiting until Oct. 1st for the service stations to stop selling gas to these useless scumbags? this should have been implemented effective immediately!!!! City of Baltimore, show your law-abiding, tax paying, concerned residents that you can do BETTER! DAMN!! it's me today, whose to say it wouldn't be you or a member of your family tomorrow.

According to BPD: "they do not allow us to engage in a police pursuit of them because of threat of injury to the public" and because they cross multiple districts. Also according to BPD: "they ride every sundy evening".

I've run into these guys on the streets twice now. They ride south on Monroe past Washington Blvd., then turn off near Annapolis Rd or Baltimore/Washington Parkway, then about 10-15 minutes later they ride up North Charles St. All this happens between 7:30pm and 8pm, or least it did 9/5/10. There are at least 4-5 red and white dirt bikes, 2-3 blue ones, and 2-3 four wheelers in the pack. None (ZERO - I counted as they drove by - I was 5 feet away) had helmets on, license plates, or lights on their bikes. The group thinned out after Carroll Park. At the intersection of Carroll and Washington Blvd. nearly all of them were doing wheelies (dirt bikes and 4 wheelers).

The city has cameras that recorded them between 7:30 and 8pm driving through the intersection of North Charles and Mulberry St. The cameras there are fixed and should have caught them at 3 different angels.

If the city knows WHEN and WHERE these guys ride then WHY isn't the city able to set a trap for them? Once a week they have an opportunity.

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Baltimore Hilton on Pratt Street over Labor Day Weekend and took in a few games at Camden Yards. Never been to Baltimore before and had a wonderful time at the Inner Harbor and the City in general. What a great city with lots of culture and tons of things to do. However, we took a cab to 29th Street to visit the Paper Moon Diner as we saw on the travel channel and decided at 7:00 pm to make the approximate three mile trip back on foot down Charles Avenue to the Inner Harbor. We were nearly there when this GANG of dirt bikers came around the corner and raced through traffic with no lights and no care for ANY person or vehicle on the crowded busy down town street. I understand Baltimore has a no chase policy, but something like this will definitely tarnish a wonderful charming fun city because it is life threatening to have those punk thugs ruling the streets with terror. One of them, the leader, was on a four wheeler motioning them on. Just awful that the police are crippled by such a stupid law.

I personally think the city should build a motocross track close to the city to allow the people to stay off the streets and put them where dirt bikes belong. I race motocross and i agree with PghSteve its not the bikes its the people

They're looking for a law-enforcement solution for a law-enforcement problem.

The simple way is to have the city introduce some well-placed speed bumps, and equally well placed potholes on these streets and occasionally drive a rather old and leaky gravel truck through for good measure.

As I am sitting here reading these comments I have to say that I am offended by these statements that people are and have been making about us dirtbike riders ! You all only know what the police and media tell you about us and it's not the truth, I was just at the park sunday in my car and I sat and watched 3 police cars chase a dirtbike THROUGH THE PARK meaning on the grass where people we're having cookouts. If it's illegal to chase dirtbikes then why do they still continue to do it ? If were so called braking the law then what are they doing?

I've been in your city and very much enjoy what it has to offer. Love bikes, and have ridden dirt and street bikes for decades -recreation and as a professional. Wife and I were visiting when these thugs on bikes passed us. They had zero regard for traffic laws, other motorists and the residents of Baltimore. Several moments later we came upon one of these animals stopped on the sidewalk urinating towards the roadway! Why do the police not have multipurpose bikes(endure) to apprehend these menaces of society? Four of us could have these wannabe bikers rounded up in no time but there has to be the will to do so. I really hope the residents of Baltimore pressure city hall to rid these parasites and flush them down the toilet to no mans land.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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