NEWINGTON – A second man is facing reckless endangerment and reckless driving charges as part of an intensive investigation into ATV and dirt bike nuisance riders in town.
Roberto Alicea, 26, of 38 Dewey St., New Britain was arrested April 8 in connection with a large scale investigation into illegal All-Terrain Vehicle and dirt bike riding through town, police said. Jan Sanchez, 21, of New London, was arrested in late March on similar charges.
The two are believed to be part of a large group of individuals who were riding ATVs and dirt bikes recklessly through town, popping wheelies, driving in opposing traffic lanes and on sidewalks last summer.
City police were plagued by reports of the riders who would sprint through town in groups, many crossing in from Hartford, and driving down Cedar Street to New Britain on Sundays throughout the summer. “We’d see as many as 30 or 40 ATVs and dirt bikes flying down Cedar Street,” St. Christopher Perry said in March. “It was a dangerous situation.”
To combat the illegal riding, Newington police working with Hartford police and other agencies, employed several tactics including setting up traffic details to photograph riders and bikes to identify the drivers and seeking search warrants for social media where the drivers were posting their escapades, Perry said.
“We used a Homeland Security helicopter to film them,” in the hopes of identifying the drivers, Perry said.
Sanchez was determined to be part of the group who was involved in four instances from June 11 to July 5, Perry said. He was served with an arrest warrant March 28 charging him with four counts of operating an unregistered motor vehicle, four counts of reckless driving and Four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment.
Alicea was charged with three counts of operating an unregistered motor vehicle, three counts of operating a motor vehicle under suspension, three counts of reckless driving and one count of second-degree reckless endangerment. He was released on non-surety bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in New Britain Superior Court April 20.
Police in Newington are already seeing an uptick in illegal ATV and dirt bike use on warm days, he added. “We will continue our enforcement,” Perry said.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.