Dirt bike crashes into car; bike passenger assaults driver

The driver of a dirt bike plowed through a red light at a West Baltimore intersection Wednesday and broadsided a red sedan, but the most serious injuries suffered by the car's driver didn't come from the crash, according to city police.

A department spokesman said a passenger on the dirt bike quickly hid the cycle in an alley and then returned with friends who beat up the car's driver so severely that he had to be rushed to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said.

The teenage bike passenger was arrested and faces assault charges. The driver of the dirt bike, who was not identified, was catapulted from the bike and suffered broken bones to his arm and wrist, said police spokesman Donny Moses. He was admitted to Shock Trauma and faces charges related to motor vehicle infractions and driving an illegal dirt bike, Moses said.

Wednesday's accident at South Monroe and West Pratt streets, which occurred about 11:30 a.m., is the latest involving an illegal dirt bike, which are prevalent during the summer. Riders typically travel in packs, threatening pedestrians and other motorists as they race and perform wheelies and other stunts in traffic.

On Sunday, a 44-year-old motorcyclist from Greenbelt was killed after he crashed into a pole at Gilmor and Fayette streets when he lost control swerving to avoid a dirt bike whose driver was carrying a 2-year-old child.

Dirt bikes are nearly impossible for city police to stop. Officers are forbidden to chase them because it's deemed too dangerous. The police helicopter often follows groups and notifies officers on the ground when they stop.

Police in some districts hand out fliers urging residents to call police if they see a dirt bike parked in their neighborhood. And a new law takes effect Oct. 1 that makes it illegal for gas station owners to dispense gas to dirt bikes.

"Dirt bikes are an obvious problem that we're working tirelessly to abate," Moses said.

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

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