PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - ATVs riding up and down the streets of Philadelphia kept drivers on edge and police officers busy Sunday afternoon. It was a massive turnout to honor the memory of one of their own. The ATVs began to gather and ride around 4 p.m. to mark the four-year shooting death anniversary of the death of Kyrell Tyler, better known as Dirt Bike Rell.
Problem is, dirt bikes and ATVs are illegal on the streets of Philadelphia and the mayhem caused big problems Sunday.
Surveillance video from inside a pizza shop on Columbus Boulevard showed glimpses of what quickly became a chaotic scene in the gas station parking lot, when a large group of four-wheelers and dirt bikes pulled in.
“120 to 150, there was a lot of them,” said a witness.
“Never seen anything like this before. I’m from Southern California. I’ve seen it with the car culture, but never the motorcycle scene,” explained Jesse Padilla.
Police have a policy of not chasing them for fear of making a dangerous situation worse.
But, witnesses say, when a small number began taunting a few officers, police swarmed in and the group scattered. Mike Johns was nearly hit.
“I was almost run over. I go to pick up the gas pump and, I mean, as soon as I turn my head, the guy is probably a ruler away from me,” Johns stated.
Large numbers were spotted in Hunting Park.
Police, some on motorcycles, others in patrol cars, tried to contain them.
And, from Skyfox, ATVs and dirt bikes driving the wrong way against traffic, cutting off cars and causing near accidents, a blatant disregard for the rules of the road could be seen.
Skyfox caught a police chase through a cemetery. The rider was eventually arrested.
Police report about 20 arrests, as well as 30 dirt bikes and ATVs confiscated.
Authorities say the unsanctioned memorial ride posed safety threats across the city, endangering lives, in the name of honoring a friend.