HEMET: Man arrested after wild motorcycle pursuit

HEMET – Officers arrested a man after he fled from his motorcycle following a short, high-speed pursuit. The chase, that covered just under six miles and lasted ten minutes, wound its way through several neighborhoods, up and down city streets, through countless dirt fields, behind a shopping center, along Highway 74 and through several orange groves on the outskirts of Hemet earlier this evening, May 14.

Although the alleged suspect managed to elude officers for a short time, he was eventually apprehended after a manhunt. He was taken into custody on the 26000 block of Lake Street in an unincorporated area Hemet.

The alleged suspect, who officials have not yet named, was arrested when he was located after the pursuit. He was described as a white, male adult.

The incident began at 7:22 p.m., when a Hemet police officer spotted a man riding an off road motorcycle on Lincoln Avenue near Hemet Street in Hemet. When the officer attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop, the rider refused to yield and accelerated away from the officer.

The officer activated his overhead lights and siren and initiated a vehicle pursuit. The motorcyclist continued to refuse to stop and fled in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officers.

During the pursuit, the motorcyclist hit speeds as high as 70 mph, in spite of traveling through several residential neighborhoods. He was also seen riding on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, running stop signs and traffic signals, barreling along dirt trails and racing through orange groves on the eastern end of Hemet.

The motorcyclist initially fled eastbound on Lincoln Avenue before taking the pursuit off road through the first of several different dirt fields, in an attempt to evade the pursuing officers.

As assisting officers began converging on the area and closing off all avenues of escape, the fleeing motorcyclist took increasingly dangerous risks and almost crashed his motorcycle several times while trying to escape.

Pursuing officers requested assistance from the Riverside County Sheriff’s aviation unit, who immediately responded to the area to assist. A sheriff’s K-9 handler also responded to the area to assist if needed.

Over the course of the next ten minutes, the suspect fled through several residential neighborhoods and through countless dirt fields.

The motorcyclist eventually made it out onto Hwy. 74, where he headed eastbound for just over a mile before officers began to close in again in the area of Florida Avenue and New Chicago Street. The man then took to the dirt fields again, fleeing behind a Stater Bros shopping center. The man then headed back westbound on Hwy 74 until heading first north, then south on Lake Street.

Every time officers would begin to close in on the fleeing man, he would use the dirt fields and orange groves to jump from neighborhood to neighborhood and stay ahead of pursuing officers.

At one point, the suspect managed to temporarily elude the officers by racing through the orange groves west of Lake Street and south of E. Whittier Avenue.

Officers quickly established a perimeter around the area where the motorcyclist was last seen. Despite losing sight of the fleeing man, officers tracked his movements and direction of travel by listening to the sound of his loud exhaust.

As the perimeter began to tighten on him, the suspect made several attempts to break through the perimeter; however each time he tried, he was confronted by waiting officers and fled back into the orange groves.

Seeing no way to escape on his motorcycle, the man eventually dumped his bike deep in the dense orange groves and fled on foot.

In spite of the perimeter, Star-9 assisting from overhead and the presence of a K-9 in the area, the suspect managed to evade officials for another ten minutes while he ran several blocks to the area of Lake Street south of Mayberry Avenue.

An officer on the perimeter eventually spotted the suspect as he came out from behind a home on the 26000 block of Lake Street. She advised she had the man at gunpoint and that he was refusing to obey her verbal commands.

As officers raced to the location, the man eventually began to obey the officer’s orders and he laid down on the ground with his hands out as he was told to and officers took him into custody without further incident.

Officers later found the abandoned motorcycle deep in the orange groves in the area where the motorcyclist had last been seen.

This is a developing story. Additional information will be update as it becomes available.

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