JOPLIN, Mo. — A simple trip across Joplin for two area drivers quickly escalated into a “terrifying” series of events, igniting a huge debate on social media. We dug into the issue of a motorcycle group riding around the Four States and, at times, becoming aggressive with other drivers, disregarding traffic laws, all while thumbing their noses at the police.
“I thought at first he was just coming to yell at me like all of the other ones, and then he just punched my mirror, and my window was actually down at that point, because one of them was right next to me trying to talk to me. And when he did, the glass from the mirror flew off and came into the vehicle at me.”
“Lisa”, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, posted her story to social media when she saw a video showing a group of dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles running a red light at 7th and Range Line, with the police in tow.
She said her experience was terrifying.
“They started motioning with their hands, towards their bikes and just around, and so I though that, maybe they just broke down or something, I didn’t know, but my vehicle was already in the intersection. And they weren’t directly in my lane, so I went ahead and turned. They, both of them, just started chasing after me.” said Lisa.
A few blocks later, about 20 more riders in the group caught up with her at a red light.
“They were revving up their engines and yelling, and kicking and punching my vehicle.”
And she isn’t the only one who had a run-in with the group…
“I’ve got bikes and cars around me, and this continued down Range Line, and my wife is, you know, she called 911. She’s a little nervous. She’s a lot nervous, and so am I.”
“John”, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said the next several minutes were tense, as the confrontation with the group continued.
“I was at the very front, and a gentleman on the four wheeler pulls out in front of me and rides a wheelie. Then all of that aggravation continued, guys riding wheelies down the turn lane, and as we progress through Range Line, people have to acknowledge this is several miles, it’s not a city block,” said John.
Joplin Police Captain William Davis said they receive daily reports of incidents like Lisa and John describe.
“We get constant calls with groups of motorcycle riders displaying careless and imprudent driving behaviors,” said Cpt. Davis.
When those calls come in, Davis said officers have to quickly assess their options.
“Just like with any situation, an officer is going to have to weigh several different factors to determine what actions they take or not take. In this particular instance, they’re going to weigh the safety of the other motorists on the roadway, the safety of those that are failing to stop, the safety of the officers themselves, and the severity of the crime and several other factors.”
This video (above) from one of the incidents now has nearly one thousand comments and has been shared more than 2,100 times. The comments range from support of the group to threats of violence.
Captain Davis said that’s exactly what officers are trying to avoid.
“Road rage is typical with these types of situations. We don’t want there to be any type of physical confrontation.”
One resident said she had a great time, following the group around Joplin. It was the same night “John” had his run-in with them.
She commented on the social media post, saying that her son enjoyed watching them as they did their stunts. And explained that at one point she prevented a motorist from throwing a Gatorade bottle at some of the riders.
Watch tonight at six and ten as we hear more from John and Lisa about the impact the incident has had on them and how Joplin police officers are responding to these incidents.