In Detroit, traffic laws are treated by some as mere suggestions. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to see motorists blow through red lights, or for drivers to block oncoming traffic lanes as they inch out waiting for their chance to turn left.
Most recently, an incident in which a 15-year-old boy was killed after being tased by a police officer while riding an all-terrain vehicle has the city’s police chief looking for ways to get ATVs off the city streets.
Damon Grimes was killed Aug. 26 while riding his ATV on Detroit’s east side. Local media reported that a Michigan State Police trooper spotted him driving in the street, which is illegal, and ordered him to pull over. Police say he didn’t, and the trooper gave chase, deployed his Taser and struck the teenager, which caused him to drive over a curb and into the back of a pickup truck. He died shortly afterward at a hospital.
The trooper was suspended with pay and placed on desk duty for using a stun gun in a moving vehicle. He also faces a $50 million federal lawsuit.
Both the state and city police are investigating.
The Detroit News reports that Police Chief James Craig wants to set aside land where people could operate ATVs more safely.
“They’re dangerous when not used how they’re supposed to be used,” Craig told The News. “These things shouldn’t be driven on the street, and they pose a danger to both the public and rider. It’s been a real issue for law enforcement.”
Residents told the paper that four-wheelers and even go-karts are a common sight — and safety risk.
“You see them driving up and down the road at 50-60 mph,” said Jonathan Pommerville, a resident of a westside neighborhood. “They go through red lights like it’s nothing. There was a kid on a go-kart who hit the turnaround on Grand River going about 60 mph.”