Dirt bike rider killed, 1 injured in local MLK Day crashes, 44 arrested
One of two dirt bike riders involved in separate traffic accidents in Miami-Dade County, Monday, died, as hundreds of riders from across the country hit the streets of South Florida for the third annual “Wheels Up, Guns Down” demonstration.
As of 7:30 p.m., on Monday, Miami-Dade Police said they have made nine arrests. Just after 10 p.m., the Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed they made 35 arrests.
Videos posted to social media showed the aftermath of the crash that claimed the life of the rider. Family members identified him as 25-year-old Javis Charles.
According to police, Charles’ dirt bike went straight into a turning car, near Northwest 54th Street and Sixth Avenue, in Miami.
“He go like, ‘bap,'” said one witness who asked not to be identified or show his face on camera.
Witnesses told 7News they saw 20 to 30 dirt bikes speeding down 54th Street moments before the crash, at around 7 p.m. They said the victim was just behind the group when he hit a car making a right-hand turn near Sixth Avenue.
“You know, we tried to do the CPR like four, five times, and nothing come in,” said the witness.
Charles was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Family members later told 7News he died.
7News cameras captured distraught relatives consoling Charles’ mother outside of the hospital.
Just after 5:30 p.m., 7’s Skyforce HD hovered above the scene of the first crash, at a stoplight in the area of Northwest 27th Avenue and 167th street, just south of the Palmetto Expressway.
Investigators said the rider was going at a high rate of speed when he collided with the black pickup truck. The victim then slid about 100 feet and came to rest just below the stoplight.
Moments later, dozens of motorcycle and ATV riders were seen heading against traffic at the intersection, as the victim lay on the pavement.
Paramedics took the victim to the hospital shortly after. The extent of the rider’s injuries is unknown.
The crashes come hours Skyforce HD cameras captured as many as 100 bikers driving at a high rate of speed at the intersection of Northwest 95th Street and Seventh Avenue, in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Some of the riders were seen popping wheelies and blowing through intersections as they headed northbound along Northwest Seventh Avenue. At one point, several of them rode against traffic.
One of the groups that rode through Northwest Miami-Dade came all the way from Baltimore to take part in the mass holiday ride.
One of the riders from Baltimore told 7News he’s not worried about any crackdown from police. “We’re here to tear the streets up. We’re going to ride up through this town,” he said. “We ain’t worried about no cops.”
About a half hour later, Skyforce HD hovered above police officers in Hollywood as they took one rider into custody on Hollywood Circle, near North 25th Avenue. His ATV was confiscated.
In Miramar, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies took a man into custody after being stopped in a child-sized four-wheeler. A young boy was riding with him.
The male adult was charged with riding an unregistered vehicle in the streets. The small ATV was later towed away.
7News cameras captured one man being brought in handcuffs to Miami-Dade Police Northside Station, in Northwest Miami-Dade. It is unknown whether the man was detained or arrested.
Elsewhere, a group of four-wheelers exiting Florida’s Turnpike caused massive traffic backups.
Miami-Dade Police said they have arrested nine people, confiscated at least 33 motorcycles and four-wheelers, and seized at least two weapons. “[The vehicles] have been towed to nearby tow yards,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Marjorie Eloi
In Hollywood, 7News cameras captured crews with Westway Towing putting seven confiscated dirt bikes and four-wheelers on a large flatbed in a parking lot near U.S. 441 and Hollywood Boulevard.
As of 10 p.m., BSO said they’ve confiscated 74 vehicles and seized three firearms.
Organizers of the annual rally said it is intended to promote nonviolence as a tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but officials said the riders put other motorists at risk. ATVs and dirt bikes are not legal on Florida’s paved roads and highways.
“You could be ticketed. You could be arrested, and certainly, your ATV or off-road vehicle could be confiscated,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel during a press conference, Thursday afternoon.
“You might be able to outmaneuver us. We may not necessarily chase, but you can’t escape the aircraft,” said Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Robert Chandler.
The ride comes one day after 20-year-old Ramon Jose Hernandez-Acevedo lost control of his four-wheeler along the Palmetto Expressway, was thrown from it, and pronounced dead at the scene, Sunday afternoon.
FHP officials said there were at least 50 additional troopers out on the road in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. They had two command posts; one of the staging areas is located near Northeast Sixth Avenue and Interstate 95, in Miami Gardens.
Police in Broward told 7News that some of the large groups of ATV riders stayed off major highways.
The driver of the car involved in the crash that claimed Charles’ life stayed at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.