Sometimes a bicycle rider can escape a chasing car, but only by going where the car can't go – not by outrunning it.
A worried 15-year-old Wauwatosa boy, despite pedaling frantically, could not outpace a police cruiser when he couldn't get off the beaten tracks of Wauwatosa Village.
It didn't keep him from trying, though. He persistently refused to give up on his getaway ride even as the officer drove for blocks alongside him, at a modest speed, imploring him to just stop.
One in the bag, two on the loose
The episode began at 1:35 a.m. Nov. 21 when a patrol officer saw three youths riding bikes unsafely and long past curfew down the middle of North 68th Street near Cedar Street. They looked underage, so when they turned onto Terrace Court, he followed, spotlighted them and turned on his emergency lights.
Only one, a 17-year-old Wauwatosa boy, stopped, so the officer stayed with him for questioning while calling on other officers to be on the lookout for the two fleeing nightriders.
The 17-year-old smelled moderately of alcohol, and the officer realized he had a case not of just violating curfew. The boy admitted he and his friends had been drinking together, and he submitted to a breath test. He registered just over .03, less than half the limit for driving a vehicle but plenty for evidence of underage drinking.
Second officer sets off in hot pursuit – in low gear
Meanwhile, another officer spotted a boy rapidly riding a bike west in the 7300 block of West State Street and suspected he was one of the escapees.
The officer spotlighted him, but the boy just pedaled the more furiously. The officer turned on his emergency lights – the boy didn't stop.
Approaching the Village proper, the officer hit his siren as well. The boy still did not stop.
In the boy's first attempt at evasive action, he wheeled north at 74th Street, then made a left into the alley opening onto the parking lot behind the George Webb restaurant and other small businesses.
The officer was able to follow the boy closely through those maneuvers.
Next, the boy entered the Blanchard Street public parking lot and circled through it, leaving the way he had come, with the officer tooling along right behind him, red and blue lights flashing and siren shrieking.
Now the boy pedaled into the Chase Bank parking lot, which at least affords the obstacles of four drive-through stations and a curbed divider running its length.
The boy doggedly rode through the lot and circled back to his starting point, the officer sticking to his tail. Then he circled the same lot a second time, still failing to shake the barely idling squad car.
Determined teenager pedals on... and on
The fugitive now headed back east on State Street, then north again on 74th. By this time, the patrol officer was actually driving along next to him, with his window down, calling to the boy to halt.
He didn't. He turned east onto St. Charles Street and kept going. When he reached the 7200 block, the officer finally turned on his PA system and barked at the boy that this was not worth it and now he really must stop.
In resignation, and no doubt some degree of exhaustion, the boy stopped.
He proved to be a 15-year-old, from Wauwatosa, with a 15-year-old's reasons for running. He admitted he had “lost it” because he had been drinking – and because he also had some pot on him.
In a backpack he was wearing, the officer found an empty 1-liter vodka bottle and about half a gram of marijuana. He tested just above a .08 blood alcohol concentration.
Both boys who were caught were cited for underage drinking, and the 15-year-old was admonished for breaking curfew, smoking pot and obstructing a police officer. They were released to their parents.
The third boy was not found or identified that night.