Dangerous “118 mph” motorcycle chase ends with Redding man’s arrest

REDDING — Authorities arrested a Redding man who led them on a dangerous, high-speed pursuit that at times reached speeds of nearly 120 mph last night, Sunday, Oct. 13.

The chase, which CHP later said covered about 16 miles, began in Redding on SR-299E just east of I-5, and ended at a private property in the Bella Vista area near Diddy Wells Fire Station on Seaman Gulch Rd.

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Last night’s dramatic chase began around 7 p.m., when a CHP officer attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on a speeding motorcyclist who refused to stop. After failing to yield the man led officers on a dangerous pursuit that wound its way eastbound away from Redding on 299E toward Burney.

As the pursuit continued east on 299E it was soon joined by several patrol vehicles, a motorcycle officer, and a CHP helicopter.

During the chase the motorcyclist, later identified as 34-year-old, Redding resident, Branden Kerr, fled from officers without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officers, according to CHP; who later reported the fleeing rider was soon hitting speeds of nearly 120 miles per hour while passing slower moving motorists on the wrong side of the winding, mostly two-lane mountain roadway.

Witnesses to the chase soon turned to social media, with many sharing their first-hand accounts of what they had seen while some asked for details about the motorcycle in the pursuit and others offered prayers of safety for the pursuing officers and innocent motorists caught in the chase.

Witnesses described the motorcycle as a Harley-Davidson style cruiser with large “ape hanger” style handlebars.

Area resident Robin Hartsell-Thomas later reported on social media that the pursuit ended when the motorcyclist sped into family’s her yard on Seaman Gulch Rd., near Diddy Wells Fire Station.

“He drove up in my yard with cops hot on his tail,” according to Harstell-Thomas.

As a CHP chopper circled overhead, providing traffic information and vital details to pursuing ground officers, the rider “got stuck in here circling my driveway trying to get out,” Hartsell-Thomas continued; later saying the incident scared her children and that she would be sure to keep the front gate to her property closed and locked from now on.

Kerr was eventually apprehended after driving up Hartsell-Thomas’ lawn, where officers took the fleeing man into custody, according to the bewildered witness who, after all the unexpected activity in her yard, said she was curious why the man chose to flee from officers in the first place.

Kerr’s motorcycle was eventually impounded and the captured man was later booked into Shasta county Jail on charges of recklessly fleeing from officers and other charges related to the dangerous incident.

Although witnesses reported numerous close calls during the pursuit, including a large hay hauler that was nearly run off the roadway along 299E, there were no reported crashes or injuries related to the chase.


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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