Caught on Cam: Motorcyclist Flees Helicopter Along Kelly Drive, I-676 in Philly


Warning: The video contains explicit language

A motorcyclist recorded his wild ride through Philly as a helicopter hovered above him in what Philadelphia Police called a potentially deadly ride.

The motorcyclist, who did not want to be identified, told NBC10 he’s a longtime Philly resident who regularly rides through the city late at night. He recorded himself with a GoPro camera last September as he rode along Kelly Drive shortly before midnight.

"Going at the speeds that he is going around curves and things of that nature, he's lucky he's not dead, to be totally honest," said Philadelphia Police public information Lt. John Stanford.

In a 13-minute video which was later posted on YouTube, the motorcyclist first rides to a Sunoco gas station. The motorcyclist told NBC10 he noticed a laser being pointed at him as he was in the parking lot. He then spotted a helicopter shining a spotlight on him.

"Oh, you think you’re f*****g funny? Set it down right here. Come on let’s go for a ride," the motorcyclist says in the video.

"He looks like he's playing with us at some point and time, trying to make this a game," said Stanford.

The motorcyclist told NBC10 he wasn’t positive that it was a police helicopter hovering above him at that point because he couldn’t make out any markings. He also said he was shocked by how close the chopper got to the gas station as it continued to hover above him.

"At one point he wasn’t even 100 feet from the roof of the Sunoco," the motorcyclist said.

Stanford said it's common for police choppers to be on patrol looking out for suspicious activity.

"From an aerial view, they can cover and see a lot more than people can see from ground level," said Stanford. [[238427591, C]]

The motorcyclist said he concluded that it was a police helicopter and he waited at a red light expecting police cruisers to pull him over. When he didn’t see any response on the ground however he sped off when the light turned green as the helicopter continued to hover over him. At one point the motorcyclist reached a speed of around 130 mph.

"When they spot something like that they are going to take a look because that's what they do, they're police officers," said Stanford. "Once he identifies that he sees our chopper... anyone with commonsense should say, 'maybe I shouldn't operate my vehicle in a reckless manner.'"

After several minutes, the motorcyclist merged onto I-676 with the helicopter apparently still in pursuit. The motorcyclist then stopped and waited underneath an overpass until the helicopter finally passed.

"I don't know why anyone who is an adult would think that something like that is funny," said Stanford.

The motorcyclist told NBC10 he believed the helicopter pilot was being overly aggressive and that he would have stopped if the pilot had signaled for him to do so or if he had seen police cruisers.

"I thought he was too aggressive," he said. "He was right on top of me spotlighting me. I don’t know if a helicopter can fly like that."

"He's not getting away from our chopper, our chopper doesn't have to travel at the same-rate of speed to keep up with him," said Stanford. "We are not going to put ourselves or other citizens in trying to follow or pursue some kind of individual that is obviously driving like that."

Police didn't plan to actively search for the rider but would look over his posts.

"We have too many other major crimes that are happening in the city to look into some idiot who is riding on a bike," said Stanford.

Stanford acknowledged that some bikers are capable of handling a motorcycle at high speeds but only on closed tracks, not on open city streets.

"It's very dangerous for anyone to operate a motorcycle in a capacity like that, dangerous for themselves as well as for other individuals who are out there operating their vehicles."

Police directed NBC10 toward the department’s policy on vehicular pursuits. The policy states an officer is justified in chasing after a vehicle when they are "in close proximity to a suspect vehicle" or believe a pursuit is necessary to "prevent the death or serious bodily injury of another person." They are also justified to pursue if they have probable cause to believe that the person being pursued "has committed or attempted a forcible felony" or "possesses a deadly weapon other than the vehicle itself."

In this case, no arrest was made.

"It's ashamed we weren't able to get a hold of him that night to cite him," said Stanford.

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