WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – An officer with the UNCW Police Department "chased" a motorist on a dirt bike Monday around 4:40 p.m. on the campus of UNCW, according to university officials.
The officer, Nathan Hodge, spotted the motorist on a dirt bike, driving on a grassy area at the front of campus grounds near Randall Dr.
According to officials, UNCW's traffic regulations require motorized vehicles to use roadways on campus. Due to this, the officer began to pursue the driver when he noticed that the dirt bike did not have a license plate and the driver and passenger weren't wearing safety helmets.
The dirt bike proceeded across campus turning onto Randall Dr. toward Racine Dr.
The officer then activated the patrol car's lights and siren. The dirt bike turned right off Randall Dr. onto Racine Dr. The dirt bike left the roadway via a service roadway near Leutze Hall, then onto Chancellor's Walk, according to officials. Chancellor's Walk is one of the main walkways on UNCW's campus.
Dash camera video shows several students walking on the sidewalks and moving to get out of the way of the campus police cruiser.
Moments later, the officer suspended the pursuit at the sidewalk's intersection with Walton Dr. as directed by the shift supervisor via radio.
UNCW authorities said a trainee was in the vehicle at the time of the pursuit.
According to the UNCW chase policy, officers can chase an offender if the "violator has committed a violent felony or the violator poses an immediate threat of serious injury to the public."
The policy clearly states officers should not begin pursuit for "suspects of non-violent crimes, motor vehicle offense, if operating a motorcycle, hazard outweighs necessity of apprehension, does not present an imminent threat to life."
According to the policy the officer's immediate obligation in a vehicle pursuit is to ensure the safety of the public. The policy says the officer should consider the degree of risk created by a pursuit by the population density and volume of pedestrian traffic and the nature of the area.
The UNCW chase policy goes on to say the pursuit should end immediately if "pedestrian related condition increases the danger of pursuit beyond the worth of apprehending the suspects; danger to the public outweighs the value of apprehending the subject."
UNCW made the following comment about the case: Campus safety is of paramount concern at
UNCW, and we are reviewing this incident accordingly.
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