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Police & Fire

Springfield PD: Dirt Bikes Were Backfiring To Sound Like Gun Shots

Springfield Police officers were able to seize two dirt bikes, as well as two motorcycles that were intentionally backfiring creating a sound similar to a gunshot. Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department
Springfield Police officers were able to seize two dirt bikes, as well as two motorcycles that were intentionally backfiring creating a sound similar to a gunshot. Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department
Springfield Police officers were able to seize two dirt bikes, as well as two motorcycles that were intentionally backfiring creating a sound similar to a gunshot. Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department
Springfield Police officers were able to seize two dirt bikes, as well as two motorcycles that were intentionally backfiring creating a sound similar to a gunshot. Photo Credit: Springfield Police Department

Dirt bikes that were intentionally modified to make them sound like gunshots going off were among several seized by police in Western Massachusetts during a recent crackdown.

On Thursday, April 8, Springfield and Massachusetts State Police conducted an anti-dirt bike and off-highway vehicle safety detail following recent complaints from the community regarding reckless riders.

During the detail, at approximately 5 p.m., the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing alerted officers on the ground of dirt bike riders driving erratically and disregarding traffic signals near Roosevelt Avenue.

Police said that at that time, one of the riders, David Clark, of Springfield, reused to submit and sped away. Clark was located near St. James Avenue, at which point he intentionally drove his dirt bike at an officer in an attempt to run him over.

The officer was struck by the dirt bike, but was able to dislodge Clark, who continued to resist as he was being placed under arrest, said police. 

Further investigation found that the dirt bike Clark was on had been reported stolen in Connecticut.

Shortly after arresting Clark, officers arrested a 15-year-old on Avocado Street, where they seized his dirt bike.

At approximately 6:50 p.m., police said that officers pulled over two motorcyclists who were intentionally revving their engines and causing their exhaust to create a loud backfiring noise that sounded like a gunshot.

Police said that neither motorcyclist - Springfield resident Hector Marrero, and Westfield resident Charlie Rodriguez-Otero - had a proper license, inspection sticker, and were not wearing helmets.

Clark, age 19, was charged with:

  • Two counts of assault and battery on a police officer;
  • Resisting arrest;
  • Receiving a stolen motor vehicle;
  • Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle;
  • Reckless operation of a snow/recreational vehicle;
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Marrero, age 31, and Rodriguez-Otero, age 31, were both charged with:

  • Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle;
  • Driving a motor vehicle with harsh and objectionable noise.

According to the department, there has been an uptick in recent complaints that stem from some dirt bike riders “disregarding traffic and creating a public safety hazard which places themselves, other motorists and pedestrians at risk,” police said.

“The Springfield Police Department receives numerous complaints regarding dirt bikes and other off-highway vehicles,” a department official said. “Several incidents have resulted in dirt bike riders purposely damaging vehicles and several riders themselves have been killed or seriously injured in crashes in the past few years.

“It is illegal to ride a dirt bike or any off-highway vehicle anywhere within the city of Springfield.”

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