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'Reckless' in Richmond: Dirt bikers rode past the wrong person

Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 17, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police arrested three teenagers for recklessly riding dirt bikes in Richmond. The trio was arrested after Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he saw them speeding out of Richmond's Shockoe Bottom neighborhood.

"Obviously every situation is different. Yesterday's events started with Mayor Stoney notifying me that he saw them in the Shockoe Bottom heading westbound," Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said of the Thursday evening situation. "After the first attempt to pull these individuals over with our lights and sirens, they refused. So we backed off. Turned the lights off and let the airplane do it at a safe distance."

The police plane helped officers on the ground track the riders down to the 9000 block of Knightsbridge Road in Chesterfield County.

Rico Thomas, 18, of Hopewell, James Brown, 18, of Hopewell, and a 17-teen-year-old rider from Hopewell were arrested and charged with reckless driving and felony eluding.

Police said they seized the bikes and a stolen gun.

A fourth teenager ran from officers and was not yet arrested.

"The bike operators were driving unlawfully, traveling the wrong way down one-way streets and against the flow of traffic on Richmond Highway and Belvidere Street," a Richmond Police spokesperson wrote in a media update about the arrests. "The bike operators were also driving recklessly on sidewalks, through yards of private properties, and failing to stop at stop signs and traffic lights."

State Del. Delores McQuinn (D - Richmond) said she has witnessed similar behavior on city streets.

That is why she supported a bill in the Virginia General Assembly she hoped would limit that crime.

"This is something that we could do something about," she said. "I feel compelled and it should be the obligation of leaders to step in to make certain that we are providing the public safety for those who are driving motor vehicles and for those who are driving these bikes."

House Bill 1772 would have allowed the "seizure, impounding, and disposition of (i) an illegally operated all-terrain vehicle or (ii) an off-road motorcycle operated on a highway or on private property without the consent of the property owner."

The bill was never passed.

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