A motorcyclist who led police on a wild chase through four cities, ripping through traffic at speeds up to 125 mph, slammed into a bus Monday afternoon and was seriously injured, authorities said.
The pursuit was captured live on TV. It ended after 40 minutes at an Anaheim intersection when the motorcyclist, who had weaved around 18-wheelers on the freeway and run red lights at busy intersections, broadsided a bus.
Garden Grove police officers backed off the ground chase after about 5 minutes when the motorcyclist reached speeds of more than 100 mph.
“It was too dangerous to try to keep up with it, so we stood back and prepared ourselves for the crash,” said Officer John Yergler. “He’s not worth it.”
That left Anaheim officers and sheriff’s deputies overhead in helicopters, along with TV news crews, to track the motorcyclist, identified as Robert William Brog Jr., 23, of Huntington Beach.
Brog was being held on suspicion of evading arrest and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
After the chase, investigators also were seeking to determine whether the motorcyclist had any connection with the unsolved 1993 slaying of a Garden Grove officer who was shot in the city by an assailant on a motorcycle, Lt. John Woods said. He said the department had not looked at Brog as a suspect in the officer’s slaying prior to the chase.
Despite many close calls Monday, no one else was injured.
Police said Brog fled a Garden Grove mobile home park at 1:40 p.m. after trying to run over a police officer with his red Kawasaki motorcycle.
The man had been “acting suspicious” and “driving like an idiot,” drawing the attention of plainclothes officers who tried to speak to him at the mobile home park near Garden Grove and Harbor boulevards, Woods said.
But the man sped away and circled the mobile home park, police said. Realizing he was cornered in the park, the man revved his engine and tried to run over a police officer who had just stepped out of his van, Woods said. The officer jumped behind the van’s door and was not hit.
The motorcyclist then fled the mobile home park onto surface streets and several freeways, including the Orange and the Riverside. From Garden Grove he led authorities through Santa Ana, Placentia and Anaheim, where he exited the westbound Riverside Freeway at East Street.
That’s where the motorcycle approached a slow-moving Orange County Transportation Authority bus, which was passing the freeway offramp.
Police said Brog braked and skidded about 80 feet before striking the side of the out-of-service bus, which was empty except for its driver.
Gilbert Madrid, 32, of Fullerton said he and his family were following behind the bus when they saw the motorcyclist “hit the bus and bounce off.”
“I thought he was dead but then I saw his leg begin to move,” Madrid said.
Darla Portillo, Madrid’s wife, said her three children were in shock after seeing the accident. “They started crying and were hysterical,” Portillo said. “I felt scared but I was thankful it wasn’t us.”
The family parked their car at a nearby gas station and went to check on Brog, who was wearing a helmet. They saw the biker lying near a pool of green antifreeze that had spilled in the crash, Madrid said.
Anaheim police officers arrived moments later and handcuffed the man, who yelled and flailed his arms and legs before he was taken into custody, Woods said.
Authorities did not know how fast the man was traveling at the time of impact, but Woods said it didn’t “look to be very fast.”
The motorcyclist was listed in serious condition with a head injury and possibly a broken wrist. Preliminary X-rays showed no fractures, and the man was “talking to everybody,” said a spokeswoman at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
Detectives said Monday’s chase prompted them to look for possible connections between Brog and the 1993 crash that ended in the shooting death of 36-year-old Garden Grove Officer Howard E. Dallies Jr. The officer was killed when he stopped a motorcyclist for a routine traffic violation.
The Dallies slaying remains unsolved, and Woods said the suspect’s use of a motorcycle and rash actions during Monday’s chase have prompted them to investigate further.
Woods marveled that no one else was hurt as the motorcyclist ducked in and out of traffic as he circled central Orange County.
“You’re talking about maybe a force of 600 pounds [for the bike] plus the rider into the side of a car,” Woods said. “And at that rate of speed, it could have done a lot of damage.”
Also contributing to this report was Times staff writer Rene Lynch.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
A motorcyclist evading arrest led police on a wild chase on the Riverside Freeway and through the streets of four Orange County cities. Police gave up the highway chase but continued to track him by air. The motorcyclist eventually struck a bus at the end of an offramp.
Post time: Oct-19-2017