Photo/Story Gallery 2010

FHP Pilot Keeps Eyes on Speeding Motorcyclist

Sgt. Schluter and his plane.Sergeant Gary Schluter, while conducting a selective speed enforcement aircraft detail monitoring northbound traffic on Interstate 75 in Manatee County, clocked a black Motorcycle exceeding the posted speed limit. Trooper Julia Dejesus attempted to stop the motorcycle after she was notified via radio by Sgt. Schluter. The motorcycle fled at a high rate of speed, traveling well over 100 miles per hour. The trooper backed off as Sgt. Schluter followed in the sky.

Sergeant Schluter notified the Tampa Bay Regional Communication Center and Pinellas County Troopers were dispatched to assist. Sgt. Schluter observed the fleeing motorcyclist from the air as the motorcycle continued to travel at speeds greater than 100 mph even as he fled on smaller side roads off Interstate 275.

Pictured above:  Sgt. Gary Schluter and his plane. Pictured below left to right: Trooper Julia Dejesus, Trooper Kristi Menzies, Trooper Robert Ray, Corporal James Covert and Corporal James Atwood.

Trooper Dejesus Trooper Menzies Trooper Ray Cpl. Covert Cpl. Atwood.

Once the fleeing motorcyclist was observed stopping at his home, Sgt. Schluter continued to circle above as Troopers Dejesus, Menzies and Ray, and Corporals James Covert and James Atwood responded to the area.

The driver of the motorcycle was taken into custody as he attempted to leave his residence hiding in the back of a vehicle while friends attempted to drive him from his residence. Sergeant Schluter continued to monitor circling above and was able to guide the responding troopers to the vehicle as it tried to leave. Sgt. Schluter never lost sight of the motorcyclist and Trooper Dejesus was able to make the arrest as she made a positive identification on the driver.

With the assistance of the aircraft there was no need for a high speed pursuit across counties and over the Skyway Bridge. The aircraft simply followed the suspect to his house and he was taken into custody without incident. The driver stated he did not stop because he could not afford to pay the ticket. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail before being transferred to Manatee County where he will face additional charges of Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement Officers.