Motorcycle rider leads deputy on chase

OKEECHOBEE — Following a wild motorcycle ride, being tasered twice and then a foot chase, James Thomas Gainer Jr., 28, was arrested Aug. 14 by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Pollock and charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding with disregard for public safety, driving on a suspended license, driving an unregistered vehicle and resisting arrest without violence. His bond was set at $10,000.

James Thomas Gainer Jr.

According to Deputy Pollock’s report, he was monitoring traffic in the 2600 block of Northwest 36th Street at approximately 7:30 p.m. when he observed a yellow 2005 Suzuki dirt bike pass him. As it passed him, he noticed the bike had no tag. Deputy Pollock pulled out onto Northwest 36th Street and activated his lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop, but the rider merged onto the sidewalk and accelerated, crossing several roadways without stopping. At the intersection of Northwest 19th Avenue and Northwest 36th Street, the rider drove into the eastbound ditch in an attempt to go south on Northwest 19th Avenue and lost control of the bike, going airborne and crashing into some brush.

Deputy Pollock exited his patrol car as the rider was getting to his feet, and ordered him to the ground, but he reportedly refused to comply and began to run. Deputy Pollock yelled that he was going to tase him and then drew his taser and deployed one cartridge in the center of his back, causing him to fall down, but he immediately got up and continued running east. Deputy Pollock deployed the second cartridge, causing him to fall again, but again, he got up and ran. This time, he ran south through a wooded area. Although Deputy Pollock gave chase, he lost sight of him and requested dispatch send K-9 backup to assist.

Other units arrived, and an unknown person told Detective Matthew Crawford they could find the rider at a home on Northwest 18th Avenue which was in the direction the rider had been heading. When Det. Crawford arrived at the residence, he found dirt bike tire tracks in the yard and driveway, and a perimeter was set up around the residence. When he made contact with the occupants of the residence, they refused to identify themselves but did confirm the rider was inside and agreed to get him to come outside.

After a short time, Gainer exited the building and was arrested.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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