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Minuteman cyclist charged after police say he fled, collided with officer


UPDATED, Aug. 3: You've seen cyclists blow through lights or signs without stopping, right? Here's one who, police say, did that and then refused to obey an officer's command to stop.

In fact, police say, the cyclist tried to outwheel the pursuing officer on the Minuteman Bikeway, reversing his direction once and then colliding with a parked cyclist, who happened to be another Arlington police officer.

John R. Burkhardt, 51, of Arlington, faces three charges following the incident that began at Mill Street on July 31. They are a stop-sign violation, failure to submit to an officer and assault-and-battery with a dangerous weapon (a bicycle).

A police report provides the following narrative.

On Monday, July 31, at about 6:15 p.m., a town officer was monitoring bicycle traffic crossing Mill Street at the bikeway, where he saw a male operating a black-and-purple, specialized bicycle on the bike path westbound. The report says the cyclist approached the stop sign and flashing red stop light and proceeded through the intersection without stopping.

The officer signaled the bicyclist over to the side of the path where a police car was parked. The bicyclist stopped, and the officer walked over and told the cyclist why he was being stopped.

The bicyclist "immediately became agitated and stated that ... cops should be enforcing real traffic laws," the report says.

As the officer approached, the cyclist said, "This is ridiculous, and I'm not sticking around."

The man got back on his bicycle and headed westbound on the bikeway. The officer ordered the bicyclist to stop, and he did not, the report says.

At the same time, town Officer Michael Hogan was on the bikeway and saw what had occurred. Hogan began following the bicyclist at about 100 yards, keeping an eye on him, but never ordering him to stop.

The reporting officer, T. Kelly, activated his car's blue emergency lights and siren and headed westbound on the bikeway. Kelly pulled behind the fleeing bicycle, repeatedly sounding the patrol car's siren as the bicyclist continued to ride away increasing speed.

Kelly saw a section of dirt area wide enough to pass the bicyclist and block his fleeing path. The cyclist then turned around and headed eastbound, and Kelly again asked him to stop.

During this time, the cyclist approached Hogan, who had stopped riding and was in the westbound lane. He had his bicycle parked at a slight angle on the path, and fleeing cyclist collided with Hogan's bike.

The cyclist was placed in handcuffs (double locked). Four additional officers were summoned.

Hogan explained he was on a training ride when he observed some of the incidents described in this report, including Kelly issuing an order. Hogan said he just observed, "never activating himself as a police officer."

Capt. Richard Flynn wrote Aug. 3 that Hogan was off-duty and training for his annual participation in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a fund-raiser for the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber, Boston.

Hogan said he was uninjured and declined medical treatment. 

This news summary was published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, and updated Aug. 3.

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