Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald
Passenger films pursuit and posts on social media
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – A 16-year-old male was transported to the juvenile detention center in Florence on Sunday after leading officers on a pursuit and riding his dirt bike recklessly. The male was already on juvenile probation.
The youth’s passenger, who fled from the scene and got away temporarily, filmed the pursuit on his cellphone and posted it to his Snapchat account. The passenger was later apprehended as well.
According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, a deputy was on patrol in the area of Safford/Bryce Road at about 12:48 a.m. when he noticed a dirt bike without any headlights traveling toward him.
After the dirt bike passed him, the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop, however, the dirt bike refused to yield and instead continued eastward and then through the roundabout and onto 8th Avenue, where it passed another Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle that had its emergency lights illuminated.
Deputies followed the dirt bike with lights and sirens activated as the operator failed to stop at numerous stop signs. When the dirt bike turned onto a dirt road behind the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the deputies terminated their pursuit.
Deputies continued to look for the dirt bike, however, and soon after it was again observed as it failed to stop at the intersection of Entertainment Avenue and U.S. Highway 70. The operator then drove into the parking lot of 5 Star Homes and laid the bike down. At that time, both the operator and the passenger fled in different directions.
As one deputy stayed with the dirt bike, another apprehended the 16-year-old driver. The passenger was not located at that time.
A deputy followed up with the mother of the dirt bike operator, and when doing so was shown a Snapchat video of the chase by another family member that was apparently filmed by the passenger, who then uploaded it to their Snapchat account. While the family member would not identify the passenger, he was later apprehended the same day.
Both juveniles had hearings and the 16-year-old was sent to Florence for detention but his passenger was not.