OCEAN CITY — A New York man faces 24 different traffic violations after leading Ocean City Police on a wild 30-plus block chase on a motorcycle before being caught sitting on a bench along the bay late last Friday night.
Around 11:20 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer was on unmarked vehicle patrol in the area of 81st Street and Coastal Highway when he came up behind a motorcycle bearing New York tags at a stoplight. The officer noticed the motorcycle had blue LED lights projecting outward from the vehicle’s body in violation of traffic laws.
When the light turned green, the officer activated his emergency lights in an attempt to get the driver, later identified as Porfirio Chavez, 58, of Bayville, N.Y. to pull over. Instead, Chavez dashed across three lanes of traffic and accelerated at a high rate of speed approaching an estimated 70 mph, according to police reports. The officer broadcasted to other OCPD officers that the motorcycle was fleeing from him and began a pursuit. Several officers along southbound Coastal Highway reported seeing Chavez fly past their locations, running red lights at 62nd Street, 45th Street and Convention Center Drive, while changing lanes and weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes traveling between lanes through vehicles in traffic.
Chavez then ran through the red light at the 28th Street area and turned west on Robin Drive toward the bay. OCPD officers continued the pursuit and set up stationary positions along Robin Drive, Sunset Drive and Bayshore Drive, effectively setting a perimeter to prevent any escape routes from the populous midtown neighborhoods.
A witness walking his dog at the same time told police he saw the motorcycle turn down Bayshore Court, an extension of Bayshore Drive. Knowing that Bayshore Court was a cul-de-sac with no route for escape for the motorcycle, several OCPD officers deployed on foot to search for Chavez.
After being found sitting on a bench, Chavez was taken into custody without further incident. According to police reports, Chavez made no mention of why he ran from the initial traffic stop for what would have been a citation offense. The officer also noted in the report Chavez endangered the lives of pedestrians and motorists along with property during the chase.
The most serious charge against Chavez was reckless and negligent driving in wanton disregard for the safety of persons and property.