ATV and motorcycle riders swarmed into Broward and Miami-Dade counties Monday as part of the third annual Wheels Up, Guns Down ride, causing traffic tie-ups, accidents and chaos on the roads.
Arrests in the two counties totaled 35, while 74 vehicles were towed, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said late Monday night. Three firearms were seized, said spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion.
Gladys Tyson, 50, of Miami, heard the rumble of riders go by her niece’s restaurant, Tootsie’s Kitchen, on Pembroke Road.
“I think it’s really crazy and foolish, ” she said. “This is not a way to celebrate.”
She said it seemed like thousands of riders went by.
“There were so many going by, on every side of the road. It was scary, ” Tyson said.
Scores of riders took over Pembroke Road, where a number of police cars tried to block their path near North Perry Airport. The riders traveled south on State Road 7, weaving in and out of traffic toward Miami-Dade.
Television station aerial footage showed the ATV riders popping wheelies, running red lights and driving the wrong way on some roads.
A dirt bike rider was killed in a crash in northwest Miami in a crash that happened about 7 p.m. Monday, police said. According to officer Christopher Bess, Javis Charles, 25, was near Northwest Sixth Avenue and 54th Street when a Toyota driver “attempted to make a left turn in front of the dirt bike.” Charles was taken to the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he died, Bess said Tuesday.
Additionally, a motorcyclist who was part of a larger group of ATV riders was critically hurt in a crash near Northwest 167th Street and 27th Avenue, according to the Miami Herald.
Organizers say the ride is supposed to promote peace and honor King’s message of nonviolence.
Helicopters, airplanes and an additional 50 state troopers were on patrol Monday.
Driving off-road vehicles on paved roads is illegal. Violators could faces fines of $116 to $1, 065, in addition to possible arrest and the confiscation of their vehicles.