Retired DPD chief: ATV riders don't have right to intimidate on city streets

Image 1 of 10

Photo screengrab courtesy Conner Riesterer

A large caravan of ATVs and dirt bikes driving recklessly disrupted commuters across Detroit Tuesday.

The group of 15 to 20 riders blocked traffic, ran red lights, drove the wrong way. 

Steve Dolunt spent 31 years with the Detroit Police Department. After retiring from law enforcement, he is now the athletic director at Cabrini High School in Allen Park.

"They've done it on Michigan Avenue and southwest (Detroit), I see them do it on Gratiot," he said. "Again, if it's one lone person, I don't agree with it, but these guys go out in groups and do their thing. They think nothing of it and take over the street," said Dolunt, former assistant chief with DPD.

And that's exactly what this group did as SkyFOX first spotted the group on Livernois near Fenkell. It is illegal to ride ATVs in urban areas and Dolunt says it can be incredibly dangerous.

"You're not being careless, you're being reckless," Dolunt said. "If you want to throw your life away, that's on you. But why should my family have to endure the pain of some clown out there acting stupid."

"We're not hurting anybody, we're not really putting anybody in danger because we know what we're doing," said one rider on Tuesday.

But in 2017, Damon Grimes was riding his ATV on Detroit's east side. When the 15-year-old refused to stop, Michigan State Trooper Mark Bessner tased Grimes. He then crashed his ATV and died.

This week Bessner was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for the crime.

"You don't have the right to intimidate by cutting in and out of traffic, popping wheelies and antagonizing police like I dare you to pull me over after the Grimes case, " Dolunt said. "And I still believe the state trooper was wrong - totally wrong - you don't shoot at a moving vehicle."

"We were able to break that group up, and they dispersed at that point," said David LaValley, assist. chief, Detroit Police Department. "We also put a plan in place in order to address the ATV situation which is actually quite sensitive." 

| MORE: Large ATV rider caravan ride reckless across Detroit

"At the end of the day we can be robbing and doing a whole bunch of stuff but we're not," one rider said.

"Why are you talking like we're not doing anything wrong - you are," Dolunt said. "And the average citizen shouldn't have to endure that kind of hardship."