It's more than just transportation: Berkeley police nab bike trickster

May Chow

Berkeley Daily Californian

BERKELEY, Calif. (U-WIRE) - A man was arraigned last week on charges that included assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly hurling his bicycle at police officers after leading them on a chase in downtown Berkeley.

Officers allegedly followed Derek Hockett, 30, on a pursuit through downtown Berkeley in an attempt to stop him from illegally performing wheelies on his Schwinn Cruiser bicycle and blocking pedestrian traffic with his bike antics.

The chase ended when officers arrested Hockett for assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.

After being taken into custody, Hockett was booked into the Berkeley City Jail. Berkeley police Sgt. John Houpp said Hockett did not have any reported injuries.

Houpp, who was involved in the pursuit, said the chase started after Bicycle Officer Timothy Gardner stopped Hockett on a routine traffic stop.

Gardner, who was patrolling the area along with UC Bicycle Officer Makeba Moore, said he stopped Hockett because he was stunt-riding on the streets and blocking traffic.

Houpp said Hockett maneuvered down sidewalks that are restricted to pedestrian use and performed wheelies, lifting the front wheel of the bicycle off the pavement.

"After we initially stopped him, he got off his bike and then got back on and fled from us," Gardner said.

Houpp said more Berkeley officers were called to aid in the chase.

"We had officers on bikes, on foot and in cars following Hockett without posing danger to bystanders," Houpp said.

Although Moore is a UC police officer, UC police Capt. Bill Cooper said other university officers were not involved.

"She was working with the Berkeley police, and she got involved with the chase," Cooper said. "There were enough officers to do the chasing."

Gardner said that toward the end of the chase, Hockett got off his bike and intentionally hurled the Schwinn Cruiser at an officer, attempting to run away.

He was detained shortly after, and his bike was confiscated for evidence, Gardner added.

"He probably got pretty tired from the chase as he tried fleeing from us," Houpp said. "A number of officers converged on him and prevented him from escaping."

Houpp said it was not a high-speed chase, since it never exceeded 25 mph.

Gardner said during the course of the chase, he saw Hockett hit two pedestrians, but no one came forward to report any injuries.

"This sounds great, but it is not a big case," Houpp said. "I do want to stress that no one was seriously harmed."

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