HOUSTON – Houston police said an organized event this past weekend brought a lot of motorcycles to town.
However, officers said some of those riders left that event and hit the freeways. Video posted to social media and then shared by the Houston Police Officers' Union shows a group of riders appearing to taunt police on the freeway.
The video shows several riders driving on the East-Tex freeway with three Houston police officers following the group with their lights and sirens on. However, the roughly 2-minute video does not show riders pulling over, some are seen performing stunts in front of the officers’ cruisers. The video has racked up approximately 2 million views.
“There is absolutely an investigation open right now,” said Donna Crawford, the commander of HPD’s traffic enforcement division.
She said the riders seen on the video face a range of possible charges.
“Impeding the roadway, reckless driving, possibly deadly conduct depending on what they were doing,” said Crawford.
Crawford said officers kept pace with the riders because they didn’t want to risk starting a high-speed chase that might end in a crash with other drivers.
“We don’t want it to turn into an uglier situation than it already was. We can go back and file charges later on,” said Crawford.
Crawford said officers from multiple agencies were already out over the weekend looking for reckless drivers when they came across the motorcycles. Crawford said several riders were ticketed, some criminally charged and the investigation continues into those who got away.
Crawford admits she was somewhat surprised by the riders' actions and speculates it was the result of frustrations caused by COVID-19, anti-police sentiment and a little bit of group-think.
“All of those things combined kind of ramps things up a little bit and then you get the group mentality, ‘Oh, they can’t arrest us all,'” said Crawford.
On the same day, police also received a call for help from a driver who said another group of riders was threatening him as he drove along the Southwest Freeway.
“I felt like my life is not going to be put in jeopardy in this way and just wanted to get out of there,” the man said. “There was no indication our safety was in any way their concern.”
This man asked us not to release his identity for fear of retaliation. He did show us damage he said was done to his car during a run-in with a group of motorcycle riders.
“As they came they pushed their way into cars, around cars and all the cars kept moving over to the left lane,” he said. “It got real tight and uncomfortable, so I tried to pull away from that.”
This man dialed 9-1-1 and was on the phone with police when he said some of the riders became aggressive.
“I got surrounded by some bikers and they started throwing some stuff on my car and beating on my car, so I tried to get to the exit as fast as possible,” he said.
As he made his way to the Hillcroft exit he said he accidentally bumped a rider off his bike and was then pursued by other riders.
“Not like Hells Angels, more like a bunch of kids that are willing to risk their lives for stupid reasons,” he said. “I had to come to a stop and when I did, a guy got off his bike and came up to my car and tried to pull the door open.”
He managed to get away and when Houston police finally found him the other riders took off.
Crawford said investigators believe one of the men involved in this incident was arrested later that night on different charges. Crawford also said the man knocked off his bike denied being involved and claimed he simply fell.
“So between that and some of the surveillance footage that we have and some of the further investigation that we’re doing, we’re going to try to identify some more of the people that were involved,” said Crawford.