Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Allen Richard Thompson, 45, left, and Leon Ray Morton, 18, were booked into jail after being caught racing motorcycles on U.S. Highway 70 through eastern Safford.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A couple of motorcyclists ended up on a fast track to jail after being caught racing on the highway and fleeing from pursuing law enforcement.
Allen Richard Thompson, 45, was arrested and booked into jail on charges of racing on a highway, reckless driving, and excessive speed; while Leon Ray Morton, 18, was arrested and booked on the same charges as well as an additional charge of unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement.
According to a Safford Police report, an officer was parked off U.S. Highway 70 just east of the intersection of U.S. Highway 191 (1st Avenue) at about 3:45 p.m. on May 17 when he noticed two motorcycles speeding. The officer said he moved his marked patrol vehicle to the side of the highway so the bikes could see him but the officer said they sped by at more than 80 mph in a 35 mph zone.
The officer then initiated a pursuit with his lights and siren and recorded a speed of 86 mph in a 45 mph zone on one of the motorcycles, which were both traveling at approximately the same speed.
The officer reported seeing both bikes utilize the center continuous left-turn lane to pass another eastbound vehicle and described driving conditions as being with heavy traffic in both directions.
One rider, identified as Thompson, pulled over in the 1500 block of E. Highway 70 near the Circle K while the other rider, later identified as Morton, continued eastbound and then was seen pulling into the Santiago Silvercreek Mobile Home Trailer Park at 1600 E. Highway 70.
Thompson allegedly admitted to racing and said he was embarrassed by his actions because he “always preaches to the younger generation to respect the motorcycle”, according to the officer’s report. Thompson was then arrested and booked into jail and his motorcycle was towed from the scene and placed on a 20-day impound.
Shortly after Thompson was taken into custody a Safford detective entered the mobile home park and saw two men walk away from a lot where a grey motorcycle matching the second bike’s description was parked behind a trailer in an apparent attempt to hide it.
One of the men, Morton, initially denied being involved in the pursuit. However, after being informed that surveillance footage could be obtained, Morton allegedly admitted to racing. He said they were just “screwing around” trying to outdo each other.
Morton was then arrested and booked into jail and his motorcycle was towed and placed on a 20-day impound as well.
Thompson took a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to speeding greater than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in exchange for the charges regarding racing on the highway and reckless driving being dismissed. Thompson plead guilty on June 7 and was given fines and fees that equaled $582, according to online court records.
Morton, who currently has other legal matters pending regarding charges of disorderly conduct/fighting and criminal damage out of Thatcher Municipal Court, has yet to be adjudicated for the highway racing.