Police searching for dirt bike pursuit suspect
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The St. Albans Police Department is searching for a man who led officers on a long high-speed chase on Sunday afternoon.
Officers were outside the police station around 1:30 p.m. when a man riding a blue dirt bike went soaring past them on B Street, Chief Joe Crawford said. The suspect was breaking the speed limit, not wearing a helmet and the motorcycle did not have registration.
Two St. Albans Police officers began chasing the suspect, who was dangerously weaving between cars through traffic, Crawford said. The suspect went into Nitro, Dunbar and North Charleston before officers lost him. The dirt bike appeared to crash into at least one other vehicle as it swerved around cars.
“They don’t have a lot of protection, so obviously you are concerned for their safety,” Crawford said about pursuing a motorcycle driver. “There just isn’t a lot of protection out there on the street. When you are driving erratic in a reckless manner, like he was doing, obviously that creates danger for not only the driver but the public.”
Crawford said the active shift commander will decide if it is safe to chase after a suspect based on a number of factors, including the weather, traffic and danger of the suspect to the community. In this case, the suspect was posing an active risk to himself and other drivers on the road.
Crawford said the police department has seen an increase of pursuits in recent years, and community members said people have been riding dirt bikes along their normally quiet roads at all hours of the day and night.
“It really echoes up there and it’s pretty loud,” Cathy Henderson said about the issue on her street. “If somebody ran a stop sign here, which is very common, somebody on a bike wouldn’t stand a chance at all.”
Henderson said people need to follow the law and be considerate of people that live in the area. She is concerned illegal drivers could be a waste of police resources and put people at an unnecessary risk.
The best way to avoid harm during a high-speed police chase is to get out of the way as soon as you notice what is happening, Crawford said. Drivers should get off of the road to stay safe as the suspect and officers pass.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect in this case is asked to call the St. Albans Police Department at 304-727-2251. You can remain anonymous.
“We want to pursue criminal charges and take the suspect into custody,” Crawford said. “Hopefully this doesn’t happen again.”
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