JOHNSON PARK: Dirt bike rider released after refusing to stop for CHP
JOHNSON PARK — Residents of the small Intermountain community of Johnson Park, just east of Burney, were enjoying a quiet Saturday evening when they were “startled and surprised” after a dirt bike rider refused to stop for an officer and continued riding for several blocks along residential streets. The CHP officer had attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop after spotting the motorcyclist on or near Highway 299.
Despite the officer’s lights and siren, the motorcyclist continued riding, traveling along several residential streets before pulling onto his family’s property on the 21600 block of Oregon St., just north of Highway 299.
Witnesses later said the dirt bike rider appeared to be a young, male adult, and one witness said the man appeared “agitated and panicky” after he pulled onto his property, jumped from his motorcycle, and began screaming for help.
The incident began just after 5:15 p.m., when a CHP officer attempted to stop the rider, who was not publicly identified.
As the motorcyclist continued riding north on Cottonwood St., the officer activated his vehicle’s flashing red and blue lights in an attempt to gain the rider’s attention. Despite the official’s lights the rider continued, “while repeatedly looking back at and acknowledging the officer behind him,” one area resident – who requested not to be identified – later described.
“The guy appeared to be trying to signal the cop with his hands, even though he continued riding,” said the man.
With the rider still refusing to stop, the officer repeatedly activated his patrol vehicle’s siren, attempting to get the man to pull over. Despite the officer’s lights and siren, the dirt-biker continued from Cottonwood St., westbound onto Trillium Way, and then south on Oregon St.
Although CHP later said the incident was “not determined to be a pursuit or failure to yield,” the subject continued riding and eventually raced onto the Oregon St. property.
After pulling in front of his home, the rider jumped off his motorcycle and began screaming to his mom and dad for help, just as the officer followed him onto the property.
After leaping from his patrol SUV the officer immediately began to give loud, repeated, verbal commands for the person to stop. One area resident, who said he lives two blocks from where the man eventually stopped, later explained he drove to the scene after hearing the dirt bike rider screaming for help and the officer’s loud commands.
“All I could hear was a man screaming for help, with another guy yelling, ‘Stop! Stop!,'” the man, who requested to be identified as “Joe” explained. “I never heard the cop’s siren, just all the yelling. I thought for sure I was hearing a brawl and I wanted to see what was happening.”
After hearing the sounds of the officer’s sirens, followed by the rider’s screams for help and the officer’s verbal commands, multiple citizens who reside on or were visiting family members who live on Oregon St., came from their homes to watch the scene unfold.
One of the citizens, 18-year-old, Rian Morrow, of Old Station, had a cell phone and filmed part of the tense traffic stop, as well as the officials’ subsequent investigation.
Before the dirt bike rider pulled onto his property and began screaming, another area resident, Robin Montgomery, 49, of Johnson Park – who said she saw the officer chasing the dirt bike rider up Cottonwood St. and then down Oregon St. – had already run down her home’s long driveway to see where the rider was going, just as the two vehicles passed her property. She said she was the first person to arrive at the scene to “offer the officer aid and assistance, if needed.”
Montgomery – who happens to be a retired Mounted Posse member for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department – later described the incident saying, “When I heard a man screaming repeatedly for help followed by someone else yelling, I ran down the street as fast as I could. I was not about to let that officer fight that fight alone.”
“I was ready to jump in,” Montgomery explained emotionally. “We’ve had too many officers hurt, shot, and killed in the line of duty lately and all I could think was, ‘not on my watch.'”
“The first thing I said after identifying myself as a retired deputy, was to ask if the officer needed help,” Montgomery described. “Even though (the official) calmly waved me off, I still remained at the scene, waiting until his back up arrived.”
“I wasn’t about to leave,” Montgomery explained. “My blood was pumping, my fists were balled up, and I was ready to fight.”
Just as Morrow and other area residents were arriving at the scene of the stop, the rider’s parents ran out of their home, causing the already tense situation to momentarily escalate.
“The officer just held up his hand and ordered the parents to stop and not interfere,” at which time the mother stopped, Montgomery later explained.
Although the man’s mother immediately stopped, according to Montgomery the father – who she described as a “very large man” – “appeared ready to fight and defend his son, possibly because of the way he had been screaming for help.”
Just as it appeared the situation could spiral out control, the officer began to calm the rider and his parents.
“I really thought the officer was in trouble at first, but he did a fantastic job of de-escalating the situation,” described Montgomery.
Moments later, numerous other area residents – curious about all the activity, sirens, and yelling in their quiet neighborhood – came out to watch and film the incident. At about the same time a Shasta County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene and helped further calm the rider and his parents.
Once the situation was under control, the two officials spoke with the parents and rider, ultimately releasing the man to the couple, without an arrest or citation.
CHP later explained that “due to the motorcycle rider’s mental capacity and lack of communication,” the man was not taken into custody.
“Our officers need to know there are people out here who really care and would do anything for them,” Montgomery later explained with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t care what could have happened to me, I would have died for that officer today, just as I know he would have willingly died trying to protect me, if needed.”
“These officers and deputies are my family, and I will protect them as I would my own family,” the former deputy continued. “Officer’s lives matter and when I say ‘I have their six,’ I mean it.”
There were no reported injuries related to the incident.
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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.